Seniority rule done away with; Air Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria gets the top IAF job

Rakesh Bhadauria

The Government on Thursday has named Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria as the next chief of the Indian Air force. He is presently the Vice Chief of the Air Force and is expected to take over on September 30th when the incumbent chief, Air Chief Marshal Birendra Singh Dhanoa retires.

He is an alumnus of the prestigious National Defence Academy, Pune.

The officer was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force in 1980. He has held several important positions including as an Air Attache in the Embassy of India, Moscow; Commandant of the National Defence Academy, Air officer Commanding in Chief of the Southern Air Command in Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala, Air Officer Commanding in Chief of the Air Force Training Command, Bengaluru, Karnataka.

With this appointment, the government has once again done away with the seniority rule which is normally followed in government appointments to top positions. Air Marshal B. Suresh, currently the head of the Southern Air Command is the senior-most officer.

As per reports, Air Marshal Bhaduria’s name wasn’t even in the file sent by the government to the Cabinet Committee on Appointments. Air Marshal Suresh and Air Marshal R Nambiar (currently the head of the Delhi based Western Air Command) were the front runners.

The new chief was also involved in negotiations with the French Government and the Dassault Aviation company over the Rafael Deal.

He has a tough task ahead as the criticality of the aircraft shortages and squadron strength has to be fixed immediately.

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