Extension to the Coas

Col. Inderesh Kumar Jain (R)

Monday, 10 June 2024 (16:00 IST)
1. The extension given by the GoI to the COAS on 26 May 24 under the relevant sections of the Army Rules of the Army Act, 1954 is surprising to say the least, and would definitely warrant a moment of our time for deliberation.

2. At the very least an official statement by the GoI was warranted as to the reasons which resulted in this more than a little perplexing decision being foisted on the IA (a million plus strong at any one point). An explanatory note/presser would have gone a long way in assuaging the consternation generated by the announcement of the extension to the

3. The Indian Army is probably one of those very few organisations in the world; I should know having given it 35 best years of my life to it; which is the epitome of discipline, dedication, devotion, dependability and a diehard determination for service to the nation. It has strong sinews and is made of even stronger fabric and I am sanguine that all in the country would want to make it only stronger.

4. I am not going to delve into past precedence and attempt to examine extensions given earlier by various governments for reasons which, as one reviews them, seem ephemeral and in substantive in sum. That they have had a cascading /domino effect on the line up for the top position in the IA and thus belie the natural progression as ordained due to the very stringent selection process in the Army. This affects the manner in which history is charted. I am sure that that this tweaking with the established line up of Army’s hierarchy will always have political overtones; can there be any other rationale?

5. The paramountcy of the time tested principle of seniority, in selection for the Chief, must always be honoured. It is this bedrock of the foundation on which the Army stands firm and should generally never be violated, unless professional reasons dictate otherwise.

6. The higher ranks in the Defence Services are earned through blood, sweat and professional competence of the first order. For someone to have reached a three star rank of an Army Commander or equivalent in the other Service, presupposes that he has what it takes to don the mantle of the ‘Chief. The more’ unyielding he is in his approach to professionalism ie not swayed by spurious arguments and will not compromise on matters of principle, the more appropriate he is for the rank. The fabric of the Defence Services is the chain mail which protects all of us from the elements, in whatever form. Not for any other reason the defence forces are the ‘Last Resort’ in the armoury of a nation. I am sanguine that polity will always work in the best interests of the nation.

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