The Army has responded favourably to a proposal from the defence ministry to reduce residual service from 24 months to 18 months for appointing Army Commanders. The proposal, if approved by the ministry, will have far-reaching consequences as it will reduce the average tenure of army commanders and increase avenues for more Lt Generals to be promoted to the second highest appointment in the Army.
While it will not affect the promotion prospects when the Southern Army Commander, Lt General PM Hariz, retires at the end of the month, it could make some other Lt Generals eligible for promotion to the post of Army Commander when the next vacancy becomes available next May.
According to the policy, a Lt General who has commanded a Corps, is appointed as army commander based on seniority, provided he is less than 58 years of age when appointed.
The retirement age of army commanders is 60 years. The new proposal brings the residual service down from 24 months to 18 months.
The origins of the proposal to reduce the residual service lie in the report of Ahuja Committee on promotions formed by the defence ministry last year.
The committee had recommended bringing the residual service down to bring it on par with other defence services: Navy has a limitation of a minimum of 12 months of residual service to become a Flag Officer C-in-C.
The Defence Ministry asked the Army to comment on the committee’s recommendation.
It was discussed in the recent Army commanders’ conference where the top Army leadership agreed to the proposal.
The tenures of division and corps commanders are currently around 12 months but are being increased by reducing the number of officers being promoted to these ranks.