V K Singh takes over as army chief

Last Updated 31 March 2010, 17:12 IST

Gen Singh will head the 13-lakh-strong Indian Army for the next two years. The appointment was approved by the Central government in January.

A third generation officer of the Rajput regiment, Singh was commissioned in 1970 in 2 Rajput (Kali Chindi) and subsequently commanded the same battalion with distinction.
He is probably the last Army chief who actively participated in the 1971 Bangladesh War during which he was involved in training Mukti Vahini guerrillas. Besides the 1971 war, Singh participated in Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka.

Singh has first-hand experience in commando training. He is a graduate of the US Army Rangers Course of the US Army War College and was an instructor at the commando training school, Belgaum.

Just before assuming charge as the Army chief, Singh was the general officer commander-in-chief of the Eastern Command in Kolkata where he presided over the Court of Inquiry (CoI) on the Sukhna scam.

It was Singh who ruled court-martial for four guilty officers, including the then military secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash.

The CoI report was reportedly rejected by Kapoor who ordered a lower punishment for Prakash and publicly stated that as a senior officer he had the right to overrule his junior officers (read Singh).

Kapoor’s decision, however, was overthrown later by Defence Minister A K Antony who favoured the court-martial. The matter at the moment is in the court.
But the Army’s image as a clean institution took a beating due to the publicly visible brawl between Kapoor and Singh. One of the priority tasks for the new chief would be restoring the image of the Army.

Incidentally, with Singh at the helm of affairs, all the three service chiefs will be from the same hunter squadron in the NDA in Pune, who spent their cadet life together 40 years ago.

Indian Air Force Chief Air Marshal P V Naik, who took over as the chairman of the Chief of Staff Committee on Tuesday, is the senior-most. Naik from the 33rd batch of the NDA who was joined by Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma a year later. Singh is the junior-most officer who joined the Academy one year after Verma.
DH News Service

(Published 31 March 2010, 03:49 IST)

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