Army Chief General Bipin Rawat will the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the country, the government announced on Monday. He has been given an extension in service till the period he serves as CDS.
Two days ago, the government had amended service rules to allow CDS to serve till the age of 65. Service Chiefs serve till 62 or have a three-year tenure. General Rawat completes his three-year tenure as Army Chief on Tuesday. He will turn 62 later next year.
Picked as the first CDS of the country, ‘integrating’ the forces will be his prime task. The General, whose father was a senior officer, hails from Uttarakhand. He was commissioned into 5/11 Gorkha Rifles in 1978 on passing out from the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. He was the ‘sword of honour’ of his batch, meaning the best-performing cadet.
In February 2015, when posted as Commander of 3 Corps at Dimapur, he survived a helicopter crash. In December 2016, he was picked as Army Chief, superseding two seniormost Commanders — Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Parveen Bakshi and Southern Army Commander Lt Gen PM Hariz.
Before that, an Army commander was superseded when Gen AS Vaidya was appointed Army Chief in July 1983. It was during General Rawat’s tenure as Army Chief that India and China were locked in a standoff at Doklam in 2017. It was the second longest standoff between troops of the two countries along the un-demarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The Indian side dug in its heels in the standoff, reminiscent of a similar situation at Sumdorong Chu (October 1986 – May 1987) in the north-western part of Arunachal Pradesh. General Rawat, then a young Major with just eight years of service, watched the moves of General K Sundarji, who launched ‘Operation Falcon’ and moved a brigade, some 3000 men, North of Tawang.(TNS)