Lt Gen Manoj Pande, first from Corps of Engineers named as next Army chief,

NEW DELHI: Lieutenant General Manoj Pande has become the first engineer to be appointed as the 29th Chief of the Army Staff to take over after incumbent Gen MM Naravane's tenure ends on April 30.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Lt Gen Pande who is currently serving as the vice chief, has created a history of sorts as he will become the first commander from the Corps of Engineers to take charge of the 1.3 million-strong force a position that has so far been held by officers from infantry, artillery and armoured regiments.

His appointment was cleared today by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi (who is the Chairman) and the Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah. Originally the Minister-in-charge of the concerned Ministry was also part of the committee but as of 14 July 2016, is not.

Announcing his appointment the Army tweeted, "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," 

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 in the Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors.

Lt Gen Pande also served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, which is India's only tri-services command. 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 the LoC and a mountain division in a 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 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. In international missions, he has served as chief engineer in the United Nations mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

For his illustrious service, he has been conferred the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, and Vishisht Seva Medal, the Chief of Army Staff Commendation and the GOC-in-C Commendation.


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