THE SENIORITY DEBATE IS JUST
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