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Lt Gen Manoj Pande takes over as new army chief, succeeds Gen MM Naravane

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Lieutenant General Manoj Pande took over as India’s new Chief of Army Staff on Saturday, following General MM Naravane. General Pande previously served as the army’s deputy head, a position he took in February after Lieutenant General CP Mohanty retired after fulfilling his tenure.

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He is the first officer from the Corps of Engineers, often known as the’sappers,’ to command the Indian Army. Officers from the’sappers’ have held positions as commanders and deputy chiefs of staff, but never as army chiefs of staff.

He will be the 29th army chief for more than two years, having been born on May 6, 1962. Service chiefs are appointed for three years or until they reach the age of 62, whichever comes first.

Who is India’s new army leader, Lt. General Manoj Pande?

He will take command of one of the world’s largest armies at a time when India is grappling with multiple challenges on its borders, including the ongoing standoff with China, and is attempting to maximise resources and contributions from the three services – Army, Air Force, and Navy – in order to fight future wars and operations.

His appointment coincides with the Narendra Modi government’s efforts to indigenize military gear, a topic that may prove particularly difficult given the lingering impact from Russia’s war on Ukraine.

India’s military preparedness is firmly in the crosshairs in this case as two-thirds of the country’s military equipment is of Soviet or Russian-origin.

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Lt Gen Manoj Pande, India’s next army chief, is likely to focus on four issues.

On May 1, Lieutenant General BS Raju will become the new army vice chief.

General Raju, a licenced helicopter pilot, is the army’s director general of military operations (DGMO) and was monitoring the border stalemate with China in the sensitive Ladakh area in that position.

Lieutenant General Raju will become the army’s vice chief of staff:

Lieutenant General Manoj Katiyar will succeed Raju as DGMO of the army.

General Naravane was seen paying his respects at the National War Memorial and receiving a guard of honour on the grounds of Delhi’s South Block earlier today, according to Army photos.

At Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi, the general and his wife, Veena Naravane, paid a visit to President Ram Nath Kovind and his wife, Savita Kovind.

“Wonderful meeting with Army Chief, Gen MM Naravane, who’s retiring today after serving the nation for 42 yrs. His contributions as a military leader has strengthened India’s defence capabilities and preparedness. I wish him success in his future endeavours,” defence minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

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