It has happened only for a second time when a senior official was not appointed as the chief. Earlier, Lt Gen S K Sinha was overlooked for the post in favour of Gen A S Vaidya in 1983.

 

Lt Gen Rawat, who is an Infantry officer, having been commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles, became the Army vice-chief in September 2016.

 

While Lt-Gen Bakshi was commissioned in December 1977, Lt-Gen Hariz was commissioned in June 1978. Meanwhile, Lt-Gen Rawat was commissioned into the fifth battalion of the 11 Gorkha Rifles in December 1978.

 

Read more: Unlike Pakistan, Indian armed forces answerable to government

 

"Merit and suitability have been taken into account while selecting the new Army Chief. Lt Gen Rawat had more than 10 years of experience in counter-insurgency operations and on the Line of Control, besides serving on the China border. He has the requisite experience considering the current situation," Senior Defence Ministry told The Sunday Express.

 

Although there might be criticisms regarding the senior most officials being overlooked because the seniority principle has been almost followed every time, the Indian government has a right to appoint whoever it wants to be the next chief of the Army, IAF or Navy.