59-year-old Lt Gen Singh, the Eastern Army Commander, will head the 13-lakh strong force and have a tenure of just over two years till August 2014.
"Lt Gen Singh has been designated as the next Chief of Army Staff, in the rank of General, with effect from the afternoon of 31 May 2012," Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said here.
"He will succeed the present COAS Gen V K Singh, who retires from the service on May 31," he added. As per the normal practice, the appointment of Chiefs of Defence Services is announced 60 days in advance but in this case, the government made the announcement 90 days in advance.
Lt Gen Bikram Singh was the seniormost among the present Army Commanders but his appointment as the Chief of Army Staff had got caught in a suspense as Gen V K Singh was fighting out his date of birth battle that would have given him tenure till April next year.
There had been questions over Gen Bikram Singh in connection with an alleged fake encounter in Kashmir but the government went ahead to appoint him as the Army Chief. Gen V K Singh, who had two dates of birth in his official records, had dragged the government to the Supreme Court, contending that he was born on May 10, 1951 and not a year later.
However, the top court refused to accept his contention, holding that he had taken promotions on the basis of May 10,1950 as his date of birth and could not "resile" on his commitment accepting that date.