September 22, 2021


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Not seniority, merit will get top post in military… What will increase political interference by changing the policy which has been going on for decades?


New Delhi
There may be a change in the policy which has been going on for decades for promotion to the top posts of the military. It is proposed that the selection of Commanders-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Army, Navy and Air Force should not be done on the basis of seniority but on merit. If the proposal is implemented, then there will be a big change in the nearly four-decade-old policy implemented in the military. There is another big aspect to this. Some officials say it will encourage unnecessary political interference.

Sources said lieutenant generals in the army, vice admirals in the navy and air marshals in the air force lead their respective forces. Apart from these, the Commander-in-Chief leads the three forces. All these officers are three stars. The Commanders-in-Chief is the eldest among them. In order to make the army more progressive, it is proposed to change the policy for promotion of officers to the rank of three star and senior three star.

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A source said that soon a tri-service committee of Army, Navy and Air Force can be formed. It will study the proposal. It will also suggest suitable merit based criteria for the selection of Commanders-in-Chief.

What is the fear of changing policy?
There is an objection to this proposal in a section of the armed forces. A senior officer said, “Only a handful of officers reach the three-star rank. This is done after evaluating each stage in their career. In such a situation, what is the need to tamper with the policy which has been running well for decades. This so called ‘deep selection’ will lead to politicization of the top rank.

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What is the argument in favor?
At the same time, all are in favor of this proposal. He believes that merit rather than seniority should be the basis for promotion to the top rank. This is the demand of the changing times. This will help in increasing the efficiency of the army. This is very important for the integration of the army-water-air force. All three can no longer work in separate mines.

What is the Criteria now?
Presently, for promotion to the C-in-C level, the date of birth of the officer and the date of commissioning almost four decades ago is made the basis. Barring a few cases, previous governments have been appointing a new military chief on the same principle. However, the NDA government broke this tradition in December 2016 by appointing General Bipin Rawat. Rawat was appointed over two lieutenant generals senior to him. Then in December 2019, General Rawat was appointed as the country’s first Chief of Defense Staff.