Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi on Saturday extended his “best wishes and full support” to new army chief General Bipin Rawat, ending speculation that he may resign rather than serve under a junior officer.
Rawat took over as army chief from General Dalbir Singh on Saturday.
Bakshi, who is heading the Kolkata-based Eastern Command, told officers that he would continue to serve with “full professional sincerity.”
“I convey my best wishes and full support of Eastern Command to Gen Bipin Rawat on having taken over as the Chief of Army Staff,” Bakshi said in Kolkata.
An Eastern Command spokesperson said Bakshi has requested that speculation and trolling in media and social media must end and “everyone should focus on contributing their best to the betterment of the army and the nation.”
This comes a day after HT carried an exclusive interview with General Rawat in which the new army chief said he expected “support and cooperation” from the two generals superseded by the government to elevate him to the top position.
In promoting Rawat, the claims of Lieutenant Generals Praveen Bakshi and PM Hariz were ignored.
“They have been cooperating all along and I think they have been most supportive thus far and I expect the same in future,” Rawat said in his first interview after being named as Dalbir Singh’s successor.
Bakshi and Hariz were commissioned in December 1977 and June 1978, while Rawat joined the army in December 1978. Had the government gone by seniority, Bakshi would have been the next chief. But Rawat’s experience in Kashmir and the Northeast tipped the scales in his favour.
“Both generals Bakshi and Hariz have been good friends and I have lot of respect for them. But since the government has taken a decision, it is with humility I accept this responsibility and I will do my best,” Rawat had said.