If seniority only basis, a computer can pick Army Chief, says Manohar Parrikar

The Asian Age With Agency Inputs

India, All India

Government had selected Gen. Bipin Rawat as the Army Chief superseding two other officers.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Stressing that due procedures were “perfectly followed” by the government in appointing the new Army Chief, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said on Tuesday that if seniority were the only criterion, computer could have selected service chiefs based on date of birth.

He added there would not have been the need of any due process or Cabinet Committee for Appointment if seniority alone was the criterion. He was responding to a question on whether the government intends to go in for deep selection and setting aside seniority principle when it comes to selection of service chiefs.

“I do not know where there is principle of seniority. There is a procedure set wherein all commanders are verified for their performance. I can assure you that those who were considered were all good. Too good and probably that is the reason we could not take decision early,” Mr Parrikar was quoted by news agencies as saying in a press conference here. In December, the government had selected Gen. Bipin Rawat as the Army Chief superseding two other officers — Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi and Lt. Gen. P.M. Hariz — breaking away from the tradition of seniority principle since 1983.

“They are all good, capable. Circumstances probably required this selection...If you go by seniority principle, there would be no need of any procedure.”

There would be no requirement of any raksha mantri (defence minister), there would no requirement of Cabinet Committee on Appointment because then it is a computer job. Date of birth decides who becomes the General,” he was quoted as saying. He questioned why the government needs to spend four-five months studying the profile of officers, taking Intelligence Bureau reports among others. “I can tell you this much that procedure has been perfectly followed as laid down. You can read the procedure. No procedural violation has taken place,” Mr Parrikar said.