Indian Army set for leadership overhaul with new Vice Chief, Army Commanders

Sources indicate that the postings for the new Army Commanders will be clarified soon, as a reshuffling among the current Army Commanders is expected.
(L-R, walking in front row) COS Lt Gen Subramani, COAS Gen Pande & GOC-in-C Lt Gen Dwivedi
(L-R, walking in front row) COS Lt Gen Subramani, COAS Gen Pande & GOC-in-C Lt Gen Dwivedi(File photo | Express)

NEW DELHI: The Indian Army is set to undergo significant changes as new leadership will assume roles, starting June 30, with the retirement of the current Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Manoj Pande.

Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi, the current Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS), will replace General Pande as the 30th Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

NS Raja Subramani, who is serving as the General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C) of Central Command, Lucknow, will take over as the new VCOAS in the first week of July.

Following the COAS, the VCOAS and Army Commanders (GOC-in-C) are the senior-most positions in the Army.

Of the Indian Army’s seven Army Commanders, two positions—Central and Southern—will soon be vacant. Lt Gen AK Singh, the Southern Army Commander, is set to retire on June 30, and Lt Gen Subramani will move to Army headquarters in New Delhi.

Chief of Staff (COS) Western Command Lt Gen Devendra Sharma and COS Northern Command Lt Gen Anindya Sengupta are in line for promotion to the rank of Army Commander.

Sources indicate that the postings for the new Army Commanders will be clarified soon, as a reshuffling among the current Army Commanders is expected.

Next to undergo changes are the Corps commanders, with three new Lt Generals set to replace the current incumbents. A Corps is the largest formation in the Indian Army, capable of waging war independently.

The 1.2 million-strong Indian Army is organized into 14 Corps, each with troop numbers averaging between 40,000 and 70,000, depending on their role and tasks.

Of the 14 Corps, 10 are holding Corps, and four are strike Corps, tasked with penetrating enemy territory at the outset of war. The four strike Corps are the Mathura-based I Corps, the Ambala-based II Corps, the Bhopal-based 21 Corps, and the 17 Corps.

Lt Gen R Pushkar is set to become the new II Corps Commander, replacing incumbent Lt Gen Rahul R Singh. Pushkar currently serves as the Director General of the Territorial Army.

The Leh-based Fire & Fury 14 Corps will also see a change of command, with Major Gen H Bhalla, currently Additional DG Military Operations at Army Headquarters, being promoted to Lt Gen and slated to take charge.

Bhalla will replace Lt Gen Rashim Bali, who is moving to New Delhi to serve as the Military Secretary, overseeing the postings and promotions of Army officers.

The 14 Corps handles some of the world's most sensitive frontiers and battlefields, including Western and Eastern Ladakh. Since May 2020, the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh has seen tense military deployments between India and China.

Meanwhile, Maj Gen Ajay Chandpuria, currently at the Army War College, will be promoted to Corps Commander of the Jalandhar-based 11 Corps. Maj Gen AS Pendharkar, upon promotion, will become the next Director General of the Territorial Army.

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