Poll results the reason for Army Chief Manoj Pande’s one-month extension

Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi has been appointed as the next Chief of Army Staff


Putting an end to widespread speculations, the newly-formed BJP-led NDA government that took oath on Sunday announced its first major military decision late on Tuesday night by naming Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi, the current vice-chief of the Indian Army as the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

Gen Dwivedi will assume office on June 30.

In a very rare move, the government, on May 26, extended the services of the serving Army chief General Manoj Pande, by a month up to June 30, 2024.

Basically, this means that the reason behind the extension was the fact that the results of the general elections were to be declared on June 4.

But the extension had sparked speculation as to whether the government had other plans in mind—like not adhering to the seniority principle and appointing the next-in-line officers and superseding Gen Dwivedi.

THE WEEK had earlier reported that the government had given a one-month extension to Gen Pande because of the pending general elections result and that “it may not be very conducive to bring in a new chief on June 1 while the election results are to be declared on June 4”.

READ MORE: Is it the elections? Army chief gets one-month extension

Usually, three names of officers who are in the top-most three positions in terms of seniority are sent to the Appointments Committee of the Union cabinet for approval.

At the top of the list was Gen Dwivedi’s name followed by the names of Southern Army Commander Lt Gen Ajai Kumar Singh and Central Army Commander Lt Gen N.S. Raja Subramani.

Usually, a new chief is announced weeks ahead of the officer taking charge as the head of the 13-lakh-strong Indian Army.

While three-star lieutenant generals of the Indian Army retire at 60 years of age, the four-star COAS retire at 62.

Gen Dwivedi has served for nearly 40 years in the Indian Army.

Commissioned into the Infantry (Jammu & Kashmir Rifles), he has commanded a Regiment (18 Jammu & Kashmir Rifles), Brigade (26 Sector Assam Rifles), Inspector General, Assam Rifles (East) and the Yol-headquartered 9 Corps. Other important appointments include that of Director General Infantry and General Officer Commanding in Chief (Northern Command).  


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