For top military posts, MoD weighs merit over seniority

Source: Times of India

What is the news?

The Defence ministry is “examining” a proposal that the commanders-in-chief (Cs-in-C) in the Army, Navy and IAF should primarily be selected on merit rather than seniority.

  • A tri-service committee of the vice chiefs of the Army, Navy and IAF is likely to be formed to study the proposal and recommend suitable merit based criteria for selection of commander in chief
Existing rule

As per the existing policy, promotion to the C-in-C level is based on an officer’s date of birth and his date of commissioning almost four decades ago.

  • With the ongoing creation of Integrated theatre commands, the recent proposal aims to formally evolve a more progressive, common and merit based policy for the promotion of officers to three-star ranks in general and the commander in chiefs in particular.
  • For: The proponents of the change in policy argue that merit, not just seniority, should be the deciding factor in selecting the top ranks to effectively build tri-service theatre command.
  • Against: According to some sections within the armed forces, only a handful of officers reach three-star rank after being assessed on merit at every stage of their careers. The existing policy is working well and thus there is no need to bring any changes. This will lead to politicization of top ranks.

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