Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande Receives A Highly Unusual One-Month Extension

Ujjwal Shrotryia

May 27, 2024, 11:43 AM | Updated 11:42 AM IST

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande.
Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande.

In a highly unusual move, the Government of India (GoI) has given a one-month extension to the current Army Chief, General Manoj Pande.

General Pande is scheduled to retire on 31 May. With this extension, he will remain the Army Chief until 30 June.

Typically, a service chief serves until the age of 62 or for three years, whichever is earlier. This is only the third time in the history of Indian Army that an Army Chief has been given an extension.

The first was the former Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who received a six-month extension when he was the Army Chief.

The second was Manekshaw's successor, General G G Bewoor, who was given a one-year extension by former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

The reasoning for the extension cannot be said with certainty, but speculation is rife that the GoI wants the next Army Chief selected on merit rather than seniority. The next in line is Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, who is the Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS).

Before this appointment, he was the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command.

Lt Gen Ajai Kumar Singh is also in the running. Both Lt Gen Singh and Lt Gen Dwivedi are batchmates from the Indian Military Academy. Lt Gen Dwivedi, although a batchmate, is senior to Lt Gen Singh, even though Lt Gen Singh is older than Lt Gen Dwivedi. Both are due to retire on 30 June as well.

The Central Army Commander, Lt Gen N S Raja Subramani, is also in the fray.

Lt Gen Subramani has staff experience dealing with China, apart from Pakistan. He has commanded an infantry brigade opposite the international border, a division in the eastern sector, and the Ambala-based Strike Corps.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.

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