Army Chief choice as expected

The government has designated Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army Chief to take over when Gen V K Singh retires from service on May 31.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: March 4, 2012 12:58 am

The government has designated Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the next Army Chief to take over when Gen V K Singh retires from service on May 31.

The Sikh officer rose to the limelight during the Kargil war when he was posted in the DGMO and used to hold regular media briefings and update sessions on the conflict.

The appointment is on expected lines as Lt Gen Bikram Singh is the seniormost Army Commander but the govt has made the announcement a month before what has earlier been the norm.

Usually,the new Army chief is announced two months before the retirement of the incumbent. However,officials said that the timing of the announcement is normal. In any case,Gen VK Singh had discounted the possibility of resigning early due to the SC verdict on the age row. If Gen VK had resigned early,there were concerns that the ‘line of succession’ could be altered as other officers would be senior to Lt Gen Bikram Singh.

However,Lt Gen Bikram Singh’s appointment has come without any surprises. The Sikh Light officer is currently the Eastern Army Commander. He will be the second Sikh officer after Gen JJ Singh to take over the top post.

“I am honoured and grateful to the government for having reposed confidence in me and having appointed me as the next Chief of Army Staff,” said Lt Gen Singh.

He was commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment on 31 March 1972 and has been in service for nearly 40 years. While he came under the limelight during the Kargil war for his detailed briefings,the officer has held a number of important assignments,including as a Corps Commander in the Northern Command.

Lt Gen Singh also served as Deputy Force Commander of a multi-nation UN Peace Keeping Mission in Congo. He was in the UN when Indian troops posted there came under the scanner for charges of sexual exploitation and smuggling.

Lt Gen Singh has studied at the Defence Services Staff College,the Army War College and the US Army War College Pennsylvania. He also holds a M.Phil in Defence Management from the Indore University.

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