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Govt appoints Lt Gen Pande as next Army Chief; 1st officer from Corps of Engineers to helm Army


A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Lt Gen Manoj Pande will take charge as the 29th Chief of the Army Staff after incumbent Gen MM Naravane retires on April 30.

Lt Gen Pande, currently serving as the Vice Chief, will become the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to take charge of the 1.3-million-strong force as the position has been held so far by officers from infantry, artillery and armoured regiments.

"The government has appointed Lt Gen Manoj C Pande, presently Vice Chief of the Army Staff, as the next Chief of the Army Staff with effect from the afternoon of April 30," the defence ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The government followed the principle of seniority in appointing Pande to the top post as he is the senior-most officer in the Army after Gen Naravane.

Before taking charge as Vice Chief of Army Staff on February 1, Lt Gen Pande was heading the Eastern Army Command that takes care of guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors.

Officials said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the appointment of Lt Gen Pande as the next Army Chief.

Lt Gen Pande is taking charge of the Army at a time when the government has been focusing on tri-services integration through the setting up theatre commands to effectively deal with myriad security challenges.

The theaterisation plan was being implemented by India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat who died in a helicopter crash in December last. The government is yet to appoint Gen Rawat's successor.

It is learnt that Gen Naravane could be one of the contenders for the post as there has been a general view in the defence establishment that the position should go to an Army officer.

In his distinguished career, Lt Gen Pande also served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN) which is India's only tri-services command.

"General MM Naravane #COAS & All Ranks of #IndianArmy congratulate Lieutenant General Manoj Pande #VCOAS on being appointed as the 29th Chief of the Army Staff #COAS of the #IndianArmy," the Army said on Twitter.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers) in December 1982.

Lt Gen Pande has held several prestigious command and staff assignments in conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations in all types of terrain.

He commanded an engineer regiment along the Line of Control during operation Parakram in Jammu and Kashmir, an engineer brigade in the western sector, an infantry brigade along the LoC and a mountain division in the high-altitude area of western Ladakh and a Corps in the North East.

His staff exposures include Brigade Major of a Mountain Brigade in the North East, Assistant Military Secretary (AMS) in the Military Secretary's Branch and Brigadier General Staff (Operations) at headquarters of the Eastern Command.

The General Officer has served as chief engineer in the United Nations mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

He has also served as the additional director general in the military operations directorate at the Army headquarters and as chief of staff, at the headquarters of the Southern Command.

For his illustrious service, he has been conferred with the award Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, the Chief of Army Staff Commendation and twice with GOC-in-C Commendation.

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India  Army  Lt Gen Pande  Chief  

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