Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat will succeed General Dalbir Singh as the next Indian Army Chief. Lt Gen Rawat, an infantry soldier, superseded senior most army commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who advancing the Eastern Command and was next in line to be the army chief, aside from Southern Command Chief P M Hariz.
Superseding senior officers in favor of their juniors in the army is not new although there haven’t been any such cases in the latest past. In 1983, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had appointed Lt Gen A S Vaidya as army chief superseding Lt Gen S K Sinha, who resigned in protest.
In 1972, the Indira Gandhi government side-stepped the quite popular Lt General P S Bhagat, one of the handful of Indian Victoria Cross awardees from World War II, who was in line to succeed General (later Field Marshal) Sam Manekshaw. This was done by giving his junior, General G G Bewoor a year’s extension, during which time Bhagat retired. Bewoor, thus, succeeded Manekshaw.