New Delhi: General Dalbir Singh Suhag Thursday took over as the new chief of the 1.3 million strong Indian Army.
He succeeds General Bikram Singh, who retired Thursday.
The decision to appoint Suhag as the next army chief was taken by the former United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government during the general elections, and days before it demitted office.
The BJP at that time objected to the decision. However, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, soon after assuming charge, made it clear that there “shall be no controversy” over Suhag’s appointment.
Suhag’s tenure as the 26th Chief of Army Staff will be of 30 months.
An alumnus of Sainik School Chittorgarh, Suhag joined the National Defence Academy in 1970.
The 59-year-old officer served as a company commander during “Op Pawan” in Sri Lanka, commanded the 53 Infantry Brigade that was involved in counter-insurgency operations in the Kashmir Valley, and commanded the 8 Mountain Division in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2012, he was put under a Discipline and Vigilance ban by then outgoing army chief Gen. V.K. Singh for a failed intelligence operation at Jorhat in Assam.
The ban was revoked by General Bikram Singh, when he took over as the army chief, paving the way for Suhag’s elevation as the Eastern Army Commander in June 2012.