Cases of supersession should have sufficient ground: Antony

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New Delhi, Apr 21 (UNI) Defence Minister A K Antony today called upon the promotion boards in the armed forces to be more transparent and objective, and said the ''cases of supersession'' should have sufficient justification.

Inaugurating the biannual Air Force Commanders Conference here, he suggested that various aspects related to the profiles of officers should be kept in mind in promotion matters.

Mr Antony said the meritorious record should be taken into consideration to ensure that there were no inconsistencies while grading the officers.

He called upon the officers to constantly monitor the statutory and non-statutory complaints so that timely redressal was possible for all.

''The promotion boards should be transparent and objective.

The cases of supersession should have sufficient justification which should be clearly pointed out,'' the Defence Minister said.

The statement came in the wake of several superseded officers seeking either premature retirement or opting for long leaves to express their displeasure over the move to promote a person junior to them.

One of the senior most officers in the operationally crucial Northern Command in Jammu and Kashmir had recently proceeded on a long leave in protest against being forced to serve under an officer junior to him.

Chief of Staff Lt Gen P C Katoch first took 45 days leave and has now again applied for another 45 days leave, indicating that he was unwilling to serve under Northern Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Lt Gen P C Bhardwaj.

Gen Katoch is senior to the Gen Bhardwaj, who incidentally took charge in Udhampur on March 1 after his predecessor, Lt Gen H S Panag, was transferred to the Central Command following a direct confrontation with Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor.

Gen Panag had locked horns with Gen Kapoor over his proposed transfer to Lucknow, less than a year before his retirement in December 2008. Bypassing the Army chief's authority, he had raised the matter directly with Mr Antony on January 5.

The Defence Minister also said the government would take all measures to ensure that the Indian Air Force's capabilities were in consonance with India's stature, aspirations and threat perceptions.

''Our endeavour is to significantly enhance not only the strategic reach of the IAF, but also attempt a fusion of potent capabilities in terms of space-based assets, air defence, surveillance, modern aircraft and advanced weapon systems.

''I am sure that such initiatives will help the IAF to evolve into a dominant aerospace power. We must also conceptualise and build asymmetric capabilities to match superior forces. This would act as a deterrent and help in preserving our integrity and sovereignty,'' Mr Antony said.

The Defence Minister complimented the IAF for taking effective measures to bring down accident rates.

He also called upon the Air Force Commanders to devise proactive measures to further enhance the flight safety.

UNI AG JT RAI1915

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