THE SE­NIOR­ITY DE­BATE IS JUST

India Today - - NATION -

of­fi­cials say Lt Gen­eral Rawat’s role in the cross-bor­der raids into mil­i­tant camps in Myan­mar last year, when he was 3 Corps Com­man­der, and the army’s sur­gi­cal strikes into PoK on Septem­ber 29, when he was Vice Chief, played a sig­nif­i­cant role.

“The se­nior­ity de­bate is a storm in a tea cup,” says Ma­jor Gen­eral Sur­jit Singh (re­tired). “The se­nior­ity prin­ci­ple is not the cri­te­ria in most world armies—merit and govern­ment pre­rog­a­tive are.”

Even with the army, the se­nior­ity de­bate is likely to be seen as a rel­a­tively in­con­se­quen­tial dis­trac­tion given the mag­ni­tude of equip­ment short­ages and train­ing is­sues fac­ing the world’s third largest army. A mod­erni­sa­tion plan mooted in the 1990s still hasn’t taken off. Another bane is the rel­a­tively short tenures of army chiefs. The last seven chiefs have had an av­er­age ten­ure of a lit­tle over two years. Gen­eral Rawat, with a ten­ure of over three years and three months—the long­est for an army chief since Gen­eral K. Sun­darji in 1988— could pos­si­bly make a dif­fer­ence here.

Fol­low the writer on Twit­ter @San­deep­Un­nithan

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