South Block that houses the Armed Forces headquarters and the Ministry of Defence has become a battlefield of intrigue and instability, where the government and the generals scheme and plot over promotions to supersede the seniority chain. Even before the dust has settled on the appointment of Admiral Rabindra Dhowan as the new Navy chief over Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, who has packed his bags in protest, it is the Armyâ€™s turn next to be embroiled in a succession war, reopening old wounds. The artillery has opened up again between rival camps with divided loyaltiesâ€”for and against General V K Singhâ€™s legacy.
There is uproar in section of the Army over the UPA governmentâ€™s plan to announce Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag as the next Army chief before the election results are announced; a move strongly opposed by the BJP which has asked Defence Minister A K Antony to hold the decision until May end and moved the Election Commission, asking for all new postings to be deferred.
General Bikram Singh, the current Army chief retires on July 31st. The waters have been muddied by Integrated Defence Staff headquarters Deputy Chief Lt Gen Ravi Dastane going to court against General Suhagâ€™s promotion as Army Commander in June 2012, which has made him eligible to become the next army chief.