Change Of Guards: Lt Gen Bipin Rawat Will Be The New Army Chief

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat

Coming at a time when the country has faced a high level of insurgency from Pakistan, the government has announced the appointment of Lt General Bipin Rawat as the new Army Chief from January 1, 2017 to succeed the present Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag.

Gen Rawat faces numerous challenges on India’s defence preparedness amidst the ongoing criticism from some quarters regarding his selection as the new Chief of Army Staff. In the current security situation, Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency are key issues.

MoD sources on appointment of Service Chief in Gen and Appointment of Gen Bipin Rawat in particular.


The appointment of the Chief of Army Staff is based on selection from a panel of officers in the rank of Army Commanders. All officers in the panel are very competent officers and the most suitable among them is selected. However, it must be emphasised that the prerogative of selecting the most eligible from the panel is that of the government.

The government of the day takes the final decision choosing the most suitable officer based on various aspects of the security situation in the country and the future scenario.

The process of selection of Chief of Services is based on a process that commences four to five months in advance with Ministry of Defence seeking personal data and professional profiles of all eligible Lt Gens from amongst the Vice Chief of Army Staff and General Officers Commanders in Chiefs of Commands.

The Service HQ forward data of the eligible candidates including their professional exposures, achievements and operational experience.

These are processed by the Ministry and forwarded through the Raksha Mantri for consideration and selection to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet(ACC).

ACC is the authority to make final selection based upon the inputs provided by the Service HQ, Ministry, as well as any other additional information that may assist in the selection of the Service Chiefs, for the assignment that involves strategic management of national security.

In the selection and nomination of the Chief of Army Staff designate by the Govt, due process had been followed considering prevailing security environment and requirements.

On Appointment of Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the New COAS

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat has 10 yrs of experience in Counter Insurgency Operations and also was posted on Line of Control. He was involved in 1986 Operations in Eastern Sector facing China. He was also posted in Pulhama in the 19 Division.

“In the current situation we need a person with experience in relevant area, that is operational experience. Lt. Gen Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades,” an MoD official said, adding that Lt Gen Rawat has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China, and in the North-East.

Known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and connect with civil society, Gen Rawat’s experience as GOC-in-C Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services.

Therefore the background and operational experience of the officers on the panel were considered in depth while selecting the next COAS. He was found the best suited among the Lt. Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganized and restructured military force in the north; continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat fulfills this criteria by virtue of his operational assignments as Commanding Officer of 19 Division in J&K and his outstanding track record, his familiarity with the functioning of the Army HQ & MoD in his capacity as Vice Chief and his general dynamism has also played a role in tipping the scales in his favour.

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