Hierarchy has always been among the pillars of armed forces tradition. Sometimes, the tradition overlaps the merit. Similar is the case of Vice Admiral Vimal Verma.
Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command Vice Admiral Vimal Verma has approached an armed forces tribunal seeking to know why he was overlooked as the next navy chief despite being the senior-most in the line of command.
The government has named Vice Admiral Karambir Singh as next chief of the naval staff. He will succeed Admiral Sunil Lanba who retires on May 30.
The government made the selection following a merit-based approach and did not go with the tradition of appointing the senior-most eligible officer to the post. Vice Admiral Verma is senior to Singh and was among the contenders for the top post.
Besides Verma, the other contenders for the Navy Chief post included Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, FOC-in-C of Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar and FOC-in-C of Southern Naval Command Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla.
While appointing the Army Chief in 2016, the government did not follow the long-held tradition of going by the seniority.