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DGMO Lt Gen BS Raju to take over as Army Vice Chief

Lt Gen BS Raju’s elevation will be a rare instance of an officer taking over as Vice Chief before heading any of the seven commands of the Army, or becoming a Principal Staff Officer. Raju, who has 19 months of service left before retirement, is expected to serve as an Army Commander later.

Written by Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
Updated: April 30, 2022 8:06:54 am
Lieutenant General BS Raju

Lt Gen BS Raju, Director General of Military Operations, will take over as Vice Chief of the Army over the weekend. He will replace Lt Gen Manoj Pande, who will become Army Chief after the incumbent Gen M M Naravane retires.

Raju’s elevation will be a rare instance of an officer taking over as Vice Chief before heading any of the seven commands of the Army, or becoming a Principal Staff Officer. Raju, who has 19 months of service left before retirement, is expected to serve as an Army Commander later.

Sources cited several reasons for the elevation of Raju rather than any of the serving commanders. Many of these commanders, including the ones in the Northern and Eastern Commands, had taken over just months earlier, and their tenures would have been disrupted.

While some other commanders have a few months of service left, two commanders are involved in the study for theaterisation that was commissioned by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat before his death in a helicopter crash in December.

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Lt Gen Raju is an infantry officer from the Jat Regiment, and has held several sensitive posts during his 38-year career. He is a pass-out of Sainik School, Bijapur, and the National Defence Academy. He joined the Army in December 1984.

He has commanded a battalion in Jammu and Kashmir, a brigade in Uri and headed the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps till March 2021. Since then, the Army said in a statement Friday, he was “tenanting the appointment of Director General Military Operations during the standoff on the LAC”.

Raju is a helicopter pilot and has operational flying experience in Somalia as part of the UN’s operation there. He is a recipient of the Uttam Yudh Seva, Ati Vishisht Seva and Yudh Seva medals.

This is the first instance in nearly 40 years when the Vice Chief will become an Army Commander. Gen Sunith Francis Rodrigues, who led the Army from 1990 to 1993, served as the Vice Chief between 1987 and 1989 and went on to head the Central and Western commands.

Usually, an officer is brought in as the Vice Chief after has been an Army Commander. The Vice Chief is generally the second senior-most officer, though that is not always the case.

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