On the day outgoing Army Chief Gen. V K Singh handed over the baton to his successor Gen. Bikram Singh,Defence Minister A K Antony advised senior officers to make a fresh start without the baggage of the recent turbulent phase in the Army and his ministry.
In first such comments made to top ministry officials,Antony asked for bitterness to be shunned. We do not want to carry forward the baggage of the last eight months, he said.
Antony described the recent controversies as an aberration,and urged the officials to begin on a clean slate,sources said.
In his meeting with Gen. Bikram Singh who took over at noon today,Antony asked the new Army Chief to carry forward the modernisation process in a focused manner,and promised him the governments support,officials said.
Gen. Bikram Singh has already announced that his top priority would be to speed up the modernisation process. He has also said that he would work to strengthen the core values of duty,honour,loyalty,integrity,respect and selfless service in the Army.
Gen. Bikram Singh took over as the 25th Chief after a cordial exchange of batons with Gen. V K Singh. A short ceremony took place in the Army Chiefs office in South Block,at which the officers shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. The ministry said in a statement that a profound sense of accomplishment and achievement marked the occasion as the baton was exchanged.
The traditional tea party that is organised on the last day of the Chiefs service,however,did not take place. Sources said that the function,a traditional send off by the ministry where the incoming Chief is formally introduced by his predecessor,did not take place as Gen V K Singhs office did not respond to the defence ministrys invite.
Gen. Bikram Singh,who has over six decorations,including a Sena Medal for gallantry,has been described by the ministry as one of the most decorated officers to take over the top office. Commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry in 1972,Gen. Singh has held various high-profile command and staff positions,including those at the head of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps and the Eastern Command.
He has served in three UN Peace Keeping Missions,and has held staff appointments at Army Headquarters,including tenures in Military Operations,Perspective Planning and Staff Duties.
Gen. Singh has a Masters in Strategic Defence Studies from the USA. He topped the Young Officers course at his infantry school,and was adjudged the Best Young Officer. He was also awarded the prestigious Commando Dagger for being the best commando,along with the Best in Tactics trophy.