New Delhi, July 31 (IANS): General Dalbir Singh Suhag today took over as the new Chief of the 1.3 million strong Indian Army.
He succeeds General Bikram Singh, who retired on 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 VK 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The ban was revoked by General Bikram Singh, when he took over as the Army Chief, paving the way for Suhag's elevation as the Eastern Army Commander in June 2012.
India gave 'befitting reply' to beheading of soldiers: The Indian Army gave "a befitting reply" to Pakistan after an Indian soldier was beheaded along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, outgoing Army Chief General Bikram Singh said today.
"The Indian Army gave a befitting reply to Pakistan" after the Pakistanis carried out the beheading, he said here, referring to the gory incident of January 2013.
"We are carrying out tactical operations at the LoC (Line of Control). It is an ongoing process and our soldiers are doing their job," General Bikram Singh said.
He described the Indian Army as "a robust organisation, very very accountable, very responsive, very potent and a very relevant instrument of national power with the capability to take up any challenges".
On Jan 8, 2013, Pakistani soldiers sneaked into Indian territory in Krishna Ghati sector of the border and killed two Indian soldiers. Indian officials said both bodies were mutilated, and one decapitated. Two other soldiers were injured in the incident which triggered nationwide fury.