Lt General Praveen Bakshi, Eastern Army Commander and the seniormost officer to be superseded when the government announced Lt General Bipin Rawat as the new Army Chief last Saturday, met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday.
The meeting comes in the wake of speculation that Lt General Bakshi could resign from the Army.
Officials said the meeting with Parrikar was sought by Lt General Bakshi as a courtesy call. The meeting, without the presence of any aides or officials, lasted about 15 minutes in the afternoon. Officials declined to provide any details of the discussion between Parrikar and Lt General Bakshi.
Parrikar had returned from Goa earlier in the day and had to skip the Cabinet meeting after his flight to Delhi got delayed. After meeting Parrikar, Lt General Bakshi met Army Chief General Dalbir Singh at his office in South Block. Army officials refused to comment on the meeting between the two generals.
Since the government announced that Lt General Rawat will be chief — he is superseding Lt General Bakshi and Lt General P M Hariz — there has been speculation about the future course of action of the two superseded officers. This is due to a precedent set in 1983 when Lt General SK Sinha was superseded in favour of Lt General AS Vaidya. Lt General Sinha sought meetings with the then army chief, General KV Krishna Rao, and the then defence minister, R Venkataraman, to apprise them of his decision to quit.
Lt General Bakshi has until December 31, the day he gets superseded, to take this decision. Lt General Bakshi belongs to the Armoured Corps while Lt General Rawat is from the infantry. The last chief from the Armoured Corps was General Shankar Roy Chowdhury who retired in 1997.
The taking-over ceremony for the incoming Air Force and Army chiefs is scheduled for December 31. Air Marshal BS Dhanoa was announced as the new chief of the Indian air force on Saturday.
Meanwhile, sources said Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba will be taking over as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee from Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on December 29. With the retirement of Air Chief Marshal Raha and General Dalbir Singh, Admiral Lanba will be the Chairman as the senior-most service chief.
This lays to rest all speculation about the creation of the post of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) or a Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had told The Indian Express last month that the creation of a post of CDS or Permanent Chairman, COSC, was a political call and a decision can only be taken after he takes a decision on the Shekatkar Committee report on Combat Enhancement of the armed forces.