Why should Army’s Command Exit Policy be implemented?

Why should Army’s Command Exit Policy be implemented?

The Supreme Court upheld the Army's “Command and Exit” policy that lowered the age of commanding officers for promotions in the Army. The decision is taken keeping in Kargil Review Committee's view that the personnel of combat unit serves for a short span to maintain young profile of the fighting arms.

The Kargil Review Committee's believed that India needs a young force and the age profile of command unit force should be reduced for the better physical alertness.

What is “Command and Exit” Policy?

The Army's “Command and Exit” policy allows preferential promotion for officers serving in the command unit.

The model was put forth in 2009 which said that the age of colonels, commanding a battalion of 800-odd soldiers, was over 40 years whereas, this age in Pakistan and Chinese armies was 37 years.

AV Singh Committee in 2009 recommended the command and exit policy by which colonels would serve as battalion commander for two to three years and exit to a non-command post by the time they reach the age of 40.

The Indian Army had a higher age profile than that of Pakistan and China.

This affected India Army's fitness and alertness.

Those against the policy argued that it denies pro rata distribution of vacancies to the services stream of army while focusing only on arms and arms support.

Reasons for implementation:

1. No Violation of Fundamental Rights:
The policy has no reason for any argument just on the basis of legitimate expectations as it does not violate fundamental rights of any stream of Army.

2. Makes Army efficient and Better for Combat:
Lowering the age criteria will make more opportunities for young blood and making army more strong.

Even the apex court believes that there is nothing perverse, unreasonable or unfair about the CEM policy.It is intended to make Army more efficient and better equipped to face the difficult situations.

3. Internationally Tried
AV Singh Committee found that the Indian Army is aged as compared to the armies of US, Israel, Pakistan and Russia. The age of colonel in Indian Army is above 40, whereas this age is lower (about 37 yeras) in other countries like Pakistan and China.

With the armies of neighbouring countries being comparatively younger, it becomes important for Indian army to stay younger at command.

4. Age Matters
The age standard is one of the key factors to be considered to keep the army fit and alert. The aged officials who lead the battalion may have experience, but may lack in physical and mental alertness, which are the important factors to survive in combat situations. Therefore, CEM policy helps to keep Indian Army fit mentally and physically.
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