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In surprise move, Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat appointed next Army Chief (Relevant for GS Mains Paper II)

Lt. Gen Bipin Rawat appointed as new Army Chief:
The government announced Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff.

Controversy held in appointment:
The appointment goes against the long held tradition of appointing the senior most eligible officer to the post.
By seniority, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command should have been appointed.

Similar instance in history:
The last time the senior most eligible officer was not appointed was in 1983 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi choose to appoint Lt Gen A.S. Vaidya as the Chief contrary to expectations that Lt Gen S.K. Sinha would be the Chief. Lt Gen S.K. Sinha, then Vice Chief, choose to resign in June 1983 after the appointment though he was to retire in early 1984.

Implication of the Appointment:
With this appointment two senior most officers have been superseded, unprecedented in the military so far. Lt Gen P.M. Hariz, Southern Army Commander is second in seniority after Lt Gen Bakshi.

Who is Chief of Army Staff?
The Chief of the Army Staff is the commander and usually the highest-ranking officer of the Indian Army. The position is abbreviated as COAS in Indian Army, and usually held by a four-star officer in the rank of General.

The current COAS is General Dalbir Singh, who took office on 1 August 2014 following retirement of General Bikram Singh. Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, will succeed General Dalbir Singh when he retires on 31 December 2016



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