‘Computer May Pick Army Chief If Seniority Only Criteria’


New Delhi: On the question of appointing of General Bipin Rawat as the new army chief, superseding other officers who have been in the service longer, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday quipped that if seniority was the only criteria, even computers could have picked a service chief.

Adding that all the candidates were equally good, Mr Parrikar reiterated the government’s stand that set procedures were followed in the appointment. If seniority and date of birth were the only criteria, computers could have selected the service chief and there would be no need to have a cabinet process, Mr Parrikar told reporters.

General Rawat was selected as the new Army Chief superseding Eastern Army Commander Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Commander Lt. Gen. P. M. Hariz, both of whom have been in service longer than General Rawat.

The Defence Ministry justified General Rawat’s appointment saying he was found to be the “best suited among the eligible Lt. Generals to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the north-east”.