Lt. General Manoj Pande Becomes First Engineer To Be India’s Army Chief

“Government has decided to appoint Lt Gen Manoj Pande as the next chief of army staff,” the defense ministry announced on Monday.

Lieutenant General Manoj Pande has been appointed as the next chief of the Indian Army. Succeeding General Manoj Mukund Naravane who is scheduled to complete his 28-month tenure on April 30, the 29th Army chief Manoj Pande will be the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to become the Chief of Army Staff.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Pande was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers in December 1982. Lt General Manoj Pande commanded an engineer regiment during Operation Parakram in the Pallanwala sector along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. Operation Parakram, the large-scale mobilisation of troops and weapons to the western border, followed the December 2001 terror attack on Parliament that brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

In his 39-year military career, Lt General Pande has commanded an engineer brigade in the western theatre, an infantry brigade along LoC, a mountain division in the Ladakh sector and a corps in the northeast. He was the commander-in-chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command before he took charge of the Eastern Command.

Lt General Pande is the senior most in the force after General Naravane, and will therefore take over the reins after Gen Naravane’s retirement.

Gen Naravane is seen as the frontrunner for the Chief of Defence Staff’s (CDS) post, which has been vacant since the death of India’s first CDS Gen Bipin Rawat in an air crash last December.

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