April 20, 2022 - 10:02 am

Lt. Gen Manoj Pande appointed next Army Chief 

    The Central Government appoints Indian Army Vice Chief Lieutenant General Manoj Pande as the next chief of the Indian Army and he will take over his new office on 1 May. The 29th Army chief will be the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to become the Chief of Army Staff succeeding General Manoj Mukund Naravane who is scheduled to complete his 28 month-tenure on 30 April. Army chiefs in India have always been from the Infantry, Armoured Corps or Artillery. Once he takes over as Chief, all the three Service Chiefs will be from the 61st Course at the National Defence Academy (NDA).

    Lt Gen Pande hails from Nagpur and members of his family are connected with the defence forces, while his academician-father retired from the Nagpur university and his mother worked for the All India Radio. He was commissioned in December 1982 into the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers). He took over as Vice Chief on February 1 and prior to that was the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command. From June 1 till January 31 he served as the 15th Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman & Nicobar Command (CINCAN). He is a graduate of Staff College, Camberley (United Kingdom) and attended the Higher Command Course at Army War College, Mhow, and National Defence College (NDC) at Delhi. He was posted as Chief Engineer at the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. 

    In his 39-year military career, the General Officer has commanded 117 Engineer Regiment during Operation PARAKRAM in Pallanwala Sector of Jammu and Kashmir, along the Line of Control (LoC). He commanded an Engineer Regiment along LoC, an Engineer Brigade as part of the Strike Corps, an Infantry Brigade along the LoC, a Mountain Division in high altitude area of Western Ladakh and a Corps deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as also in counter insurgency operations area in the North East. Lt Gen Pande is also The Colonel Commandant of The Bombay Sappers. For his illustrious service, he has been conferred Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, the Chief of Army Staff Commendation and the GOC-in-C Commendation.

    Positions of field command in the Army in Brigades, Divisions, Corps and Commands are held by only officers from the ‘Arms’, and these commands are essential to be on the path of future selection as an Army chief. Technically, personnel from all ‘Arms’ are eligible to be selected for, or opt for, the General Cadre wherein command of these field entities would be open to them and they would be eligible to rise in rank and be eligible to be appointed as Chief of Army Staff. If these officers do not opt for general cadre or are not selected, then they can still rise to the rank of Lt Gen in their respective ‘Arms’, but they are not eligible to become Army chief as they do not command field formations. However, in practice, most officers who get selected in General Cadre for command of the field formations are traditionally from Infantry, Armored Corps and Artillery. The first two are sub-classified as ‘fighting arms’, while Artillery, Engineers, Signals, Army Air Defence, Army Aviation Corps and Military Intelligence are described as ‘supporting arms’.

    There is a lot of speculation that the government may also announce the name of the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) this month itself. The appointment has been vacant since the untimely and tragic death of Gen Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash in December 2021. Gen Naravane is considered to be the frontrunner for the appointment of CDS and it has been conjectured in defence circles that the government has been awaiting completion of his tenure as the COAS before making the announcement. This would ensure that the line of succession does not get disturbed unless, of course, the powers that be decide on deep selection.

Questions and Answers Questions and Answers

Question : Who is the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to become the Chief of Army Staff?
Answers : Lt. Gen Manoj Pande
Question : What course will all the three Service Chiefs be from?
Answers : 61st Course of NDA
Question : Where does Lt Gen Pande hail from?
Answers : Nagpur, Maharashtra
Question : When was Pande commissioned into the Corps of Engineers The Bombay Sappers?
Answers : 1982
Question : Where did Pande attend the Higher Command Course?
Answers : Army War College, Mhow, and National Defence College NDC at Delhi
Question : Where was Pande posted as Chief Engineer?
Answers : United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea
Question : How many Engineer Regiments has the General Officer commanded in his 39 year military career?
Answers : 117
Question : What is the name of the officer who is eligible to be selected for command of the field formations?
Answers : General Cadre
Question : What are the most common types of officers who get selected for command of the field formations?
Answers : Infantry, Armoured Corps and Artillery