Recently, the union government announced Lt General Bipin Rawat as the new army chief by superseding two of his seniors. How would this decision affect civil – military relations? Critically comment.

Appointing the Lt Generaral Bipin Rawat has been in controversy since this appointment supersedes the two senior army officers. But there can be no argument in civilian government choosing a military chief and that is the essence civilian-military relation in the  democracy. But will this decision have an effect on that relation

Positive:

  1. By this decision government is not ready to appoint army chief based on seniority but the merit and currently prevailing security situation.
  2. In the army as well , criteria of seniority will not be taken granted to become chief there by improving their portfolio to become chief

Negative:

  1. There is no process and criteria to be followed in appointing the chief. Sometimes appointment by the govt of the day can be seen as arbitrary,favoritism and parochialism
  2. There might be chance that multiple contenders might cause for political patronage

Way forward:

  1. Formalizing and institutionalizing the process of selection will remove the arbitrary decisions and shield the political interference in the army
  2. It will also instill the sense of fairness in awarding the merit

Though there are no rules or law in appointing , without an alternative to seniority there is danger of disturbing the delicate civilian -military relations. India has a good track record maintaining this relation and everyone’s hope is  to continue the same.

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