Two of the three Army commands responsible for the sensitive 3,488-km India-China boundary will get new commanders on Tuesday.
While serving Northern Army Commander, Lt Gen Y K Joshi, retired, on Monday, Eastern Army Commander, Lt Gen Manoj Pande, will take over as the new Vice Chief of the Army on Tuesday, as the incumbent Vice Chief, Lt Gen CP Mohanty, also superannuated on Monday.
While serving Northern Army Commander, Lt Gen Y K Joshi, retired on Monday, Eastern Army Commander, Lt Gen Manoj Pande, will take over as the new Vice Chief of the Army, as the incumbent Vice Chief, Lt Gen CP Mohanty, will superannuate.
The Northern Command is responsible for both the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China as well as the Line of Control (LoC) and a small part of the international border with Pakistan. Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi will take over as the new Northern Army Commander on Tuesday.
Lt Gen Dwivedi was posted in the Army Headquarters as a Deputy Chief of Army, looking at the entire force’s training and finances. He had earlier commanded the Himachal Pradesh-based IX Corps.
While the LoC has been calm since last February, when the Directors General of Military Operations of Indian and Pakistani armies reaffirmed the ceasefire agreement, repeated infiltration attempts are still going on. The Northern Command also looks at the Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist operations in Kashmir Valley.
In the Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Command, responsible for the border with China, and the India-Myanmar border, Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita will take over from Lt Gen Pande on Tuesday. He was also posted in the Army Headquarters, looking at personnel. He had commanded the Dimapur-based III Corps, responsible largely for the border with Myanmar, and counterinsurgency operations in the Northeast.
The two commands account for 2,723 km out of the 3,488-km boundary with China. The length of LAC is much shorter, especially in the Northern Command.
The Indian Army has reorganised in the last two years towards the northern border from the western border, which looks at Pakistan. As relations with China continue to remain tense, infrastructure development has taken place along the entire length of the boundary, along with increased surveillance.
India and China are yet to find a resolution for the more than 21-month-long standoff in eastern Ladakh, which is part of the Northern Command. Even as Ladakh has been the focal point during this period, the eastern sector of the boundary has also seen increasing face-off between the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army.
Lt Gen Pande, who takes over the sensitive position of the Vice Chief, is expected to become the next Army Chief. The incumbent Army Chief, General M M Naravane, is scheduled to retire in April, which will make Lt Gen Pande the most senior officer after him.
Gen Naravane is considered one of the top contenders to take over as the country’s next Chief of Defence Staff, after the first CDS, Gen Bipin Rawat, died in a helicopter crash in December. He is the senior-most among the current military leaders.
The government, sources said, is not in a rush to announce the next CDS.