General Manoj Pande becomes the first Chief of Army Staff from Corps of Engineers

General Manoj Pande took over as India’s new Chief of Army Staff on April 30, following General MM Naravane. Pande previously served as the army’s Deputy Chief, a role he took in February as Lieutenant General CP Mohanty retired after fulfilling his tenure. The command was handed over by Gen Naravane.

General Naravane was seen paying his respects at the National War Memorial and receiving a guard of honour on the grounds of Delhi’s South Block earlier today, according to pictures posted on the official Twitter handle of the Indian Army.

Lt Gen Manoj Pande is the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to command the 1.3 million-strong army, with officers from infantry, artillery, and armored units previously holding the role. Gen Pande is the country’s most senior Army officer, having spent the most of his career serving at the country’s northern frontiers with China. This is critical since the two-year impasse with China has yet to be settled.

In the Western Theatre, he commanded an Engineer brigade as part of the Strike Corps, as well as an Infantry unit along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. In the Eastern Command, he also commanded a Mountain Division in western Ladakh’s high-altitude zone, as well as a Corps along the Line of Actual Control involved in counter-insurgency operations.

Lt Gen Manoj Pande has received the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, Chief of Army Staff Commendation, and GOC-in-C Commendation for his distinguished service.

“Wonderful meeting with Army Chief, Gen MM Naravane, who’s retiring today after serving the nation for 42 yrs. His contributions as a military leader have strengthened India’s defensive capabilities and preparedness. I wish him success in his future endeavors,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

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