The Union Government has appointed Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat as new Chief of Army Staff (CoAS). He succeeds Army Chief General Dalbir Singh who retires on December 31, 2016.
His appointment goes against the long-held tradition of appointing the senior-most eligible officer to the topmost post. With this criterion, he has superseded two seniormost commanders Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Commander Lt Gen PM Hariz.
About Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat
- Prior to this appointment, he was the Vice Chief of the Army. He is from the 5/11 Gorkha Rifles. Prior to taking over as the Vice Chief, he was the Southern Army Commander.
- He hails from Uttarakhand and had received the ‘sword of honour’ when he passed out from the Indian Military Academy in 1978.
- He has vast experience in high-altitude warfare and counter-insurgency operations. He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, LAC with China and North-East.
- He also had commanded an Infantry battalion at Kibithoo along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern-most corner of Arunachal Pradesh and also the Dimapur-based 3 Corps.
The last time the senior-most eligible army officer was not appointed was in 1983 when then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi chose to appoint Lt. Gen. A.S. Vaidya as the Chief, contrary to appointment of his senior Lt. Gen. S.K. Sinha. In protest, his senior Lt Gen SK Sinha had resigned.