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VK Singh flays govt for appointing service chiefs in haste

Saturday, 19 April 2014 - 6:40am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

A day after the outgoing UPA-II government decided to appoint navy chief, former army chief General VK Singh blames the government of making crucial appointments in haste and in the middle of general elections.

The government has also moved a proposal to designate next army chief before demitting office in the middle of May. The current army chief General Bikram Singh is completing his tenure on July 31.

Conventionally, government designates a service chief between 60-90 days before the appointment. Like name of General Bikram Singh was declared three months prior to his formal taking over from his predecessor General VK Singh.

"Why government is in hurry to appoint service chief. In case of army chief, there still a time to go. I see an undue and unnecessary haste by the outgoing government," former army chief General VK Singh who contested on a BJP ticket from Ghaziabad Lok Sabha constituency told dna.

General Singh also blames government to adopting dual set of rules for appointments and criticised the government for superseding a vice admiral while appointing the new navy chief.

"It seems the government has different principles for appointments. One side, they are considering Lt General Dalbir Suhag for the post of chief of army staff because of his seniority. But, while appointing navy chief, they superseded the senior most naval commander. It shows dual standards by the government," Singh added.

Western Naval command chief Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha was the senior most naval commander after the sudden departure of incumbent navy chief admiral DK Joshi, who resigned over repeated accidents involving warships.

Vice Admiral Sinha late on Thursday applied for voluntary retirement after being overlooked by the defence ministry in the appointment of next naval chief.

Moreover, former army chief also says that the navy chief has to have served as Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, the qualification, which newly appointed navy chief lacks.

"Newly appointed navy chief has not served as FOC-in-C, which has been a mandatory requirement for the appointment of navy chief. It shows, government has no fixed rules for appointments," Singh further said.

Apart from Gen Singh, his party colleagues have also joined him in the matter.

"I am not going into the specifics of any name but surely but the larger issue of naming the next general. We would expect that when we are in the midst of elections, when the model code of conduct is on, at least till May 16 all these things must be avoided," said BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.

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