Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat is all set to take over as the new Army Chief after Dalbir Singh steps down on December 31. Lt General Rawat, who is currently serving as the Vice Chief of Army Staff, has superseded two senior-most Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P M Hariz. On Saturday, the government also announced that Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa would take over as the Chief of the Air Force, replacing Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha who retires at the end of the year.
Here are ten things you need to know about the next Army chief
* Lt Gen Rawat has superseded two seniormost Lieutenant Generals. The only other time the seniormost officer has not been appointed Chief was in 1983, when Lt Gen S K Sinha was overlooked for the post in favour of Gen A S Vaidya.
* Commissioned in the Army in December 1978, Lt Gen Rawat commanded an Infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, a 5 Sector Rashtriya Rifles, and 19 Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley.
* Prior to taking over as the Vice Chief, Rawat was General Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Command. Before this assignment, he was General Officer Commanding Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa Area located in Mumbai.
* Senior Defence Ministry sources told The Sunday Express that “merit and suitability have been taken into account while selecting the new Army Chief”.
* As a Brigadier, he also commanded a multinational brigade in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
* He is a Graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command Course at Fort Leavenworth, USA.
* Rawat has authored numerous articles on National Security and Leadership which have been published in various journals and publications. He also has completed his research on military media strategic studies and was awarded Doctorate of Philosophy from Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut in 2011.
* He has vast experience in counter-insurgency operations and high altitude warfare. Rawat has also commanded an Infantry battalion, along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector; a Rashtriya Rifles Sector and an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley.
* His other assignments include Instructional tenure at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, General Staff Officer Grade 2 at the Military Operations Directorate; logistics staff officer of a RAPID in central India, Colonel Military Secretary and Deputy Military Secretary in the Military Secretary’s Branch and Senior Instructor, Junior Command Wing.
* In the 37 years of service, Rawat has been awarded for gallantry and distinguished service with the AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, COAS Commendation on two occasions and the Army Commander’s Commendation. Whilst serving with the United Nations, he was twice awarded the Force Commander’s Commendation.