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Government junks seniority in choosing Army Chief, appoints Lt General Bipin Rawat
The government has appointed Lt General Bipin Rawat as the next Army Chief.

By choosing Rawat, the government has junked the long-established seniority principle in appointing service chiefs. Lt General Rawat will replace General Dalbir Singh Suhag who is retiring on December 31.

Lt General Rawat has bypassed Eastern Command chief Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Command chief Lt Gen PM Hariz.

Air Marshal Birendra Singh Dhanoa has been chosen as the next IAF chief and he will replace Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha who also retires on December 31.

The last time a government had junked the seniority rule in appointing an Army Chief was in 1983 by Indira Gandhi government. Lt Gen SK Sinha in 1983 after was superseded by Gen AS Vaidya and Lt Gen Sinha had quit in protest.

Lt Gen Rawat is currently serving as Vice Chief of Army Staff.

The government's decision is likely to raise accusations of political interference in appointing Army Chiefs. The government had delayed this announcement while generally the name is announced 60 days in advance.

Lt Gen Rawat was commissioned in 1978 and has commanded an Infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, a 5 Sector Rashtriya Rifles and 19 Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley. He also has the credit of commanding a multinational brigade in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a Brigadier. 

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