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Class Act: School buddies script defence history in South Block

Gen Dwivedi and Admiral Tripathi were students at the Sainik School Rewa in Madhya Pradesh way back in 1973, which makes it the first such case of two class friends from the same school reaching the top post in two branches of the military.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 01:46 IST

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Four decades ago, they were classmates who had each other’s back. Now, a pleasant turn of events has once again brought the two school buddies together.

Gen Upendra Dwivedi took over as the Chief of the Army Staff on Sunday and moved into his office on the first floor of the South Block in New Delhi. A few rooms away sits his childhood friend Admiral Dinesh Kumar Tripathi, who assumed the charge as the Chief of the Naval Staff a couple of months ago.

Gen Dwivedi and Admiral Tripathi were students at the Sainik School Rewa in Madhya Pradesh way back in 1973, which makes it the first such case of two class friends from the same school reaching the top post in two branches of the military.

Admiral Tripathi, however, could not welcome his classmate in the South Block as he was away in Bangladesh on an official tour. But over the next two years, the two classmates will have to sit down regularly not only to make India more secure, but also to impart jointness among the three services.

Commissioned in 1984, Gen Dwivedi is also the first army chief from the Regiment of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, a unit linked to former royal House of the Dogra rulers of J&K. The regiment was a state force, which was integrated with the Indian Army in 1957.

The General takes over amidst ongoing global crises like the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas conflict. Closer home, the border stand-off between troops of India and China continues for the fourth year with no visible signs of any resolution of thorny issues.

“He becomes the COAS at a time when the global geo-strategic environment remains dynamic, with the challenges in the security domain becoming more pronounced due to technological advancements and ever-changing character of modern warfare,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

Operational preparedness will figure prominently as a focus area for the new chief. Concurrently, a response strategy to non-traditional security challenges, will be crafted on a priority basis.

“He has a deep understanding of modern and emerging technologies in the security domain and will give an impetus to augment infusion of critical technologies,” said an officer.

The baton was handed over to Gen Dwivedi, who was the vice chief, by Gen Manoj Pande who retired on June 30 after getting an extension for a month.

Along with the new army chief, there will also be a new vice chief in Lt Gen N S Raja Subramani – currently GOC, Central Command. Four of the seven army commands will also get new chiefs.

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Published 01 July 2024, 01:46 IST

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