Appointing and Disappointing
Whatever decision the next government takes on the army chief, Gen Dalbir Singh is between a rock and a hard place. Does the Army Act permit him to state that he will not assume office until the next government confirms his appointment? Recall how Field Marshal Montgomery pre-empted the appointment of his successor by asserting that he had “told” Gen John Crocker that he would succeed. Attlee, the PM, wanting William Slim, the hero of the Burma War, to take over, uttered the famous retort, “untell him!” Similarly, the next government can (dis)appoint Gen Dalbir Singh. However, there is another strategy used in bridge: “the upper cut”. The next government can create the office of the CoDS. Ideal man: Gen V K Singh, with status of an MoS. Even better, the “upper cut” — Gen Ashok Singh — that will force Dalbir Singh to quit. To ensure a balance of power, the CoDS will only have the field commanders of the army, the Operations, Intelligence and Operational Logistics directorates and a part of the air force dedicated to tactical support for the army. The navy and the remaining air force will be under the respective chiefs reporting to the minister. The army chief will only be responsible for training, personnel, acquisition and logistics.