Next Army Chief Lt. Gen. Pande is first engineer to hold the post
New Delhi, Apr 19: Lt Gen Manoj Pande will take the reins as the 29th Chief of the Army Staff after incumbent Gen MM Naravane's tenure ends on April 30.
Lt Gen Pande, currently serving as the vice chief, will become the first commander from the Corps of Engineers to take charge of the 1.3-million-strong force as the position has been held so far by officers from infantry, artillery and armoured regiments, news agency PTI reported.
Before taking charge as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff on February 1, he was heading the Eastern Army Command tasked with guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors.
Officials said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the appointment of Lt Gen Pande as the next Army chief.
Lt Gen Pande also served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, which is India's only tri-services command.
"General MM Naravane #COAS & All Ranks of #IndianArmy congratulate Lieutenant General Manoj Pande #VCOAS on being appointed as the 29th Chief of the Army Staff #COAS of the #IndianArmy. Lt Gen Manoj Pande will assume the appointment of #COAS on 01 May 2022," the Army tweeted.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers (the Bombay Sappers) in December 1982.
In his distinguished career, he has held several prestigious command and staff assignments in conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations in all types of terrain.
He commanded an engineer regiment along the Line of Control during the Operation Parakram in Jammu and Kashmir, an engineer brigade in the western sector, an infantry brigade along LoC and a mountain division in high-altitude area of western Ladakh and a corps in the Northeast.
His staff exposures include Brigade Major of a Mountain Brigade in the Northeast, Assistant Military Secretary (AMS) in the Military Secretary's Branch and Brigadier General Staff (Operations) at the Eastern Command headquarters.
He has served as chief engineer in the United Nations mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
He has also served as the additional director general in the military operations directorate at the Army headquarters and as the chief of staff at the headquarters of the Southern Command.
For his illustrious service, he has been conferred Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, the Chief of Army Staff Commendation and the GOC-in-C Commendation.