Sources in the government have said to that due process had been followed in the selection and nomination of the Chief of Army Staff-designate by the government, considering the prevailing security environment and requirements. Lt Gen Bipin Rawat has 10 years of experience in counter-insurgency operations. Lt Gen Rawat has had an exposure to war-like situations along the Line of Control, too. He was involved in the 1986 operations in the eastern sector facing China. Over and above that, his record shows that he was also posted in Pulhama in the 19thDivision.
In the current situation, the authority felt the need for a person with experience in these relevant and crucial areas. In other words, 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 30 years. His handling of various operational responsibilities like that along the LoC with Pakistan, the LoAC with China and in the Northeast weighed the scales in his favour, Defence Ministry sources said to us, adding that he is appreciated for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and connect with civil society.
The experience of Lt Gen Rawat as GOC-in-C Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare was focussed on the western borders, in coordination with the other 2 services, which is a rare service record. The government found him the best suited among lieutenant generals, to deal with emerging challenges, which include a re-organized and restructured military force in the north; continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the Northeast.
The process of selection of the Chiefs of Services is based on a process that commences 4-5 months in advance, with the Ministry of Defence seeking personal data and professional profiles of all eligible Lieutenant Generals from amongst the Vice Chiefs of Army Staff and General Officer Commanders in the Chiefs of Commands.
Following this standard procedure, the service headquarters forwarded data of the eligible candidates, including their professional exposures, achievements and operational experience. These were processed by the ministry and forwarded to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for consideration and selection to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).
The ACC is the authority to make the final selection based on the inputs provided by the service headquarters and the 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. Obviously then, it was the ACC that ranked Lt Gen Rawat above others, which made him the next Army Chief.