Hariz will do a Bakshi

Ever since the announcement by the Modi government of VCOAS Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the new army chief, GOC-in-C Southern Command, Lt Gen PM Hariz, had intimated his colleagues, friends and relatives that he’d bypass the precedent established by Lt Gen SK Sinha in 1983 (when he was superceded Gen Arun Vaidya) of not serving under his junior in service and serve out the rest of his term under Rawat.  Praveen Bakshi meanwhile dithered with his decision to stay but ultimately decided against challenging Rawat’s elevation because, as reports suggest, he expects to be accommodated, ideally as the first Chief of Defence Staff, failing which as an ambassador somewhere or as governor. Hariz apparently has no such expectation but, presumably, will accept such post if offered.

The government may thus be incentivising military officers in the running who don’t make it to the top to not create trouble and get rewarded with high posts elsewhere in the system. This will legitimate, in effect, the actions of the government in rejecting the seniority principle and selecting an officer as Service chief  for any reason whatsoever that it deems fit. It is hoped that hereafter “merit” (however defined) will count, not the accident of dates of birth or of entry into service. The next time, the government will, hopefully, be even more flexible and choose from among the entire lot of lieutenant generals. Once the notion of selection is entrenched, the military may end up having younger, intellectually more open, and physically more vigorous officers as COAS, CAS, and CNS.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Asian geopolitics, Culture, domestic politics, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Politics, SAARC, society, South Asia. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Hariz will do a Bakshi

  1. Ashish says:

    Once this notion is entrenched – it is also likely lead to more a compliant and accommodating military whose voice is silenced in civil military relations. Civilian ‘right’ to differ and exercise its prerogative must also be accompanied with holding chosen appointees accountable for their actions/inactions

  2. Col Manjeet Singh Sodhi (Retd) says:

    So far by and large, the Armed Forces were not being tinkered with and this was perhaps due to the lesson learnt by the Political establishment after Nehru – Krishna Menon actively promoted Kaul and created discontent amongst the top military brass including Thimayya. The ignominy that India had to face in having a Corps Commander who left his HQ in Tezpur and reported sick in the midst of battle to Army Hospital in Delhi perhaps taught a lesson to the Political leadership of not tinkering with the Armed Forces.

    The entire logic of adhering to the seniority principle stems from the fact that an Army Commander (i.e. a GOC-in-C) has already gone through five selection boards to reach that rank and it is because of this that no ACR (Annual Confidential Report) is generated on an officer who reaches this rank. All officers who reach this rank are undoubtedly very very meritorius and though there may be some minor differences amongst them in terms of capability in some specific aspects of ‘Generalship’ it is better to adhere to the ‘Seniority’ principle in order to avoid a race amongst the top GOC-in-C’s to prostrate themselves before the political (and by extension even the bureaucratic) masters in order to get promoted / selected.

    The Political leadership has undoubtedly demotivated and politicised the bureaucracy but should not do that to the Armed Forces – to avoid another Kaul becoming the COAS (or equivalent) with VERY SERIOUS ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE NATION.


    • Col Manjeet Singh Sodhi (Retd) says:

      It would be best if Governorships and Ambassadorships are awarded to meritorious civil and military personnel only say TWO or more years AFTER THEY HAVE DEMITTED OFFICE.

  3. KP says:

    A professional army shouldn’t go by dates of birth. Patton (1909) served under Eisenhower (1915). Difference of 6 years.

  4. What does all this mean for India? The easing of US-Russia ties can work in Indian interests provided we give up the tunnel vision – as if our entire universe devolves upon China and Pakistan. Any cooperation between US and Russia to stabilize Afghanistan is something that will strengthen regional security and stability. Thus, it is important not to view the Russian-Pakistani thaw in zero sum terms. Russia can never form an alliance with Pakistan. Period. This is one thing.http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/

  5. Perhaps, Modi should have taken the advice from his RSS back channels in the Indian Diaspora, and met Trump during his last visit to the US in September instead of being guided by the famous ‘America hands’ in our foreign-policy establishment, who were hundred percent sure of Hillary Clinton’s victory, and wouldn’t countenance our PM treading on her sensitivities by scheduling a meeting with her arch enemy whom she was about to vanquish from the face of America. Oh, what an unpardonable error of judgment! Some heads must roll.

    Posted in Diplomacy, Politics.

    Tagged with India-Russia, US-India.

    No comments »
    By M K Bhadrakumar – January 1, 2017

  6. Karnad sir get the last laugh!

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