NEW DELHI: Commanding Officers (COs) of key operational field military units are being forced to continue in their jobs, which not only creates high-altitude health hazards for them but also defeats the aim of maintaining a young and fit army.
“COs have to come down to a peace posting after a maximum of two years. But since the selection board for Colonels has not been done for year, it is creating a crisis in the command structure,” said an officer.
Annually, over 400 Lieutenant Colonels are promoted to Colonels to command units. In February 2015, a section of Army officers approached the judiciary, challenging the Army’s promotion policy of 2009, based on the recommendation of a committee headed by former defence secretary Ajay Vikram Singh, which looked into the lowering of the age profile of the COs after the 1999 Kargil war. The committee found that the age of colonels who command a battalion comprising 800-odd soldiers was a little over 40 years, while the same for Pakistan and Chinese armies was 37 years. The committee had recommended a command-and-exit policy by which Colonels would serve as battalion commanders for two to three years.