In rare move, govt extends tenure of Army Chief Gen Pande by one month

General Manoj Pande
General Manoj Pande

New Delhi | Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande will continue to serve in the post till June 30 with the government on Sunday extending his tenure by one month, in a rare and unusual move that came amid the Lok Sabha polls.

Gen Pande was to retire from service on May 31.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved one-month extension in service of Gen Pande, the defence ministry said.

The extension to Gen Pande came nearly five decades after the then Indira Gandhi-led government extended the tenure of Army Chief Gen G G Bewoor by one year in early 1970s in first such instance.

In view of extension given to Gen Bewoor, the next in line Lt Gen Prem Bhagat, known to be a fine military officer, retired from service without becoming the Army Chief, according to military experts.

"The Appointments Committee of Cabinet on May 26 approved the extension in service of Chief of the Army Staff Gen Manoj C Pande for a period of one month, beyond his normal age of superannuation (May 31) that is up to June 30 under Rule 16 A (4) of the Army Rules 1954," the defence ministry said.

Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, currently serving as the Vice Chief of Army Staff, is the senior-most official after Gen Pande.

The senior-most official after Lt Gen Dwivedi is Lt Gen Ajay Kumar Singh, the Southern Army Commander.

Both Lt Gen Dwivedi and Lt Gen Singh are course mates.

Lt Gen Dwivedi, who has vast operational experience along the frontiers with China and Pakistan, assumed charge as Vice Chief in February succeeding Lt Gen MV Suchindra Kumar.

Gen Pande took charge as the 29th Chief of the Army Staff on April 30, 2022 after Gen MM Naravane retired from service.

Before assuming the charge of the top post, Gen Pande was serving as the Vice Chief. He is the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to helm the force.

In his distinguished career, Gen Pande also served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, which is India's only tri-services command.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers) in December 1982.

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