Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande gets extension; to hit seniority line : The Tribune India

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Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande gets extension; to hit seniority line

Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande gets extension; to hit seniority line

Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande



Tribune News Service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi, May 26

In a surprise move, the government on Sunday announced a one-month extension in service for Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande, who was to superannuate on May 31. This is the first time that the tenure of an Army Chief has been extended since the Indira Gandhi-led government gave an extension to Gen SHFJ Manekshaw for his contribution during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said, “The Appointments Committee of Cabinet, which met on May 26, 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.

While the chiefs of all three services retire at 62, Lt General-rank officers and their equivalent in the IAF and Navy retire at 60.

When General Manekshaw’s tenure was extended, his likely successor General GG Bewoor was also given a year’s extension. General Bewoor later went on to become the Army Chief because of it, else he would have retired.

The move of the Modi government has thrown up many possibilities. A senior functionary questioned, “If the Appointments Committee of Cabinet can meet and approve the extension, it could have very well appointed a new one unless it wanted to supersede the seniority line.”

Sources said the ongoing elections could not be an excuse for not appointing a new Army Chief as Navy Chief Admiral DK Tripathi, who took over on May 1, was appointed after the model code of conduct came into force.

This one-month extension would affect the next two senior-most officers, Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi and Lt Gen Ajai Kumar Singh, who will also retire on June 30. However, past records show Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria took over as the IAF Chief on the last day of his service i.e. September 30, 2019, and served for two years.

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

But the big question is, if the government allows General Pande, Lt Gen Dwivedi and Lt Gen Singh to retire on June 30, who is the next in line? Northern Army Commander Lt Gen MV Suchindra Kumar would be senior most, followed by Lt Gen NS Raja Subramani, Central Army Commander.

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#Gen Manoj Pande #Indian Army


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