Indian Army orders court of inquiry into tiff between generals

                Army Chief MM Naravane

The Indian Army has ordered a court of inquiry (CoI) into a case relating to differences between a top army commander and his second-in-command, officials familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

A CoI at this level is rare. The development comes months after army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane nominated a senior lieutenant general to iron out the rift between the two senior officers in September.

Central Army commander Lieutenant General IS Ghuman will conduct the CoI, the officials said. Ghuman, who was commissioned in 1981, is senior to both the officers.

The differences — rare in the army’s top echelons — between the head of the Jaipur-based South Western Command and his chief of staff relate to roles and responsibilities of various offices in the command headquarters.

The South Western Command is headed by Lieutenant General Alok Kler, an armoured corps officer, and his second-in-command is Lieutenant General KK Repswal, who is from the Corps of Engineers.

After receiving representations from both the three-star officers last year, Naravane nominated the army’s then vice chief Lieutenant General SK Saini in September to look into the matter and submit a detailed report with measures to streamline the functioning of the command headquarters.

Saini retired on January 31.

The South Western Command has around 130,000 soldiers and is responsible for guarding India’s border with Pakistan in Rajasthan and Punjab.