Army Chief General Manoj Pande gets one-month extension : The Tribune India

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Army Chief General Manoj Pande gets one-month extension

Appointments Committee of Cabinet approves extension; Gen Pande was to superannuate on May 31

Army Chief General Manoj Pande gets one-month extension

Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande . PTI file



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 26

The government on Sunday announced that a month-long extension in service has been given to Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande, who was to superannuate on May 31.

This is first time that an Army Chief has been given an extension in service, since the Indira Gandhi-led government gave an extension to Gen SHFJ Manekshaw in the euphoria of the post 1971 India-Pak War.

The Ministry of Defence on Sunday issued a statement saying that “the Appointments Committee of Cabinet, met on May 26, 2024, approved the extension in service of Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj C Pande for a period of one month, beyond his normal age of superannuation (May 31, 2024),  up to June 30, 2024”.

The MoD cited Rule 16 A (4) of the Army Rules 1954 for the extension.

Chiefs of all the Three Services retire at age of 62.  Lt General-rank officers and their equivalent in the IAF and the Navy retire at 60 years of age.

The last time the rule was exercised was for General Manekshaw. In turn, his successor General GG Bewoor was also given a year’s extension while Gen Manekshaw was doing his extended period of service. Gen Bewoor went on to become the Army Chief.

The move of the Modi government has thrown up many possibilities. A senior functionary questioned: “if the Appointments Committee of Cabinet can meet and extend the service of Chief, it could have very well appointed a new one, unless they fear a political controversy”.

The ongoing elections cannot be the excuse as the Navy Chief Admiral DK Tripathi, who took over May 1, was appointed after the Model Code of Conduct was enforced.

This one-month extension means the next two seniormost --- Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, the Vice-Chief, and Lt Gen Ajai Kumar Singh, the Southern Army Commander, also retire on June 30.

But going by past records, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria took over as IAF Chief on the last day of service, September 30, 2019, and served for two years.

Going by the case of Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria, Lt Gen Dwivedi and Lt Gen Singh cannot be ruled out.

Lt General Dwivedi and Lt General Singh are batchmates but the former is senior as per the commissioning seniority, that is when they passed out from the military academy.

The next in line is Lt Gen NS Raja Subramani, the present Central Army Commander.

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