Noting that there are merits and demerits to the principle of seniority when it comes to selecting service chiefs, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Wednesday said that since a decision has been made, everyone should strengthen the hands of army chief-designate Lt Gen Bipin Rawat who superseded two officers. Raha, who is the senior most of the service chiefs and is the Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee, said past governments have also done selections based on merit or based on whatever consideration they had. “Each has it merits and demerits. Be it seniority principle, merit or requirement principle of government,” he said speaking to reporters here.
Asked what was his personal opinion, Raha said it is immaterial now. “We have had selections, deep selections based on merit or based on whatever consideration of the government in power. They have to make the decision. They have taken decisions in the past as well, having over ruled the seniority principle,” he said. Underlining that there will always be people who will speak for it and against it, Raha said once a decision has been, everyone should go along with it.
“I think we should go along with it otherwise it will weaken the person who is going to be the next chief. We got to strengthen his hand. We don’t have anything against him (Lt Gen Rawat). As of now there is nothing against him. He is a good soldier, a good officer. So is Gen Bakshi. But a decision has been made and we should go by it so that your can strengthen the hands of the person who is going to be the chief,” he said. Lt Gen Rawat superseded both Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army commander Lt Gen P M Hariz to be chosen as the next army chief.
He will take over from Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag on the afternoon of December 31.