Bipin Rawat was commissioned into the Army in December 1978 and is currently serving as Chief of Army Staff since January 1, 2017.
Outgoing Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Tuesday thanked all the army personnel and their families for extending full support to him in his three year tenure at the helm of the 1.3 million force.
When asked whether the Army is better prepared now to face the security challenges facing the country he said: “Yes, we are better prepared.”
Gen Rawat who interacted with media persons after receiving the Guard of Honour in the forecourt of the South Block also paid respects to the fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial on a chilly winter day.
“I express my gratitude to all soldiers who have stood steadfast under challenging circumstances, performing their duties, keeping the traditions of our armed forces. My special complement to our soldiers on northern, western and eastern borders who are braving tough winter and icy winds, steadfastly in guarding our country,” Gen Rawat said.
Gen Rawat also congratulated Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane who will shortly take charge as the 28th Chief of Army Staff. “I convey my best to each and every rank and file of Indian Army. I also congratulate Gen Naravane on being the next Army Chief. He is a very competent and capable officer. Gen Naravane through his competence and professionalism will take Army to greater heights,” Gen Rawat said.
Asked about his priorities as the CDS, he said, “I totally focussed on my job as a Chief of Army Staff. I will think about my next job after I assume the next office.”
On Monday, the government decided to appoint General Rawat as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), a Defence Ministry order read.
Rawat was commissioned into the Army in December 1978 and was serving as Chief of Army Staff since January 1, 2017. His tenure saw a series of reforms in the 1.3 million-strong force besides following a policy of “hot pursuit” in dealing with cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
A key mandate of the CDS will be to facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about joint-ness in operations, including through establishment of joint/theatre commands.
Officials said bringing about ‘joint-ness’ in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance of the three services within three years will be another major mandate of the CDS.
The tri-service agencies, organisations and commands relating to cyber and space will be under the command of the CDS and he will also function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.
Separately, the government has also created a Department of Military Affairs, to be headed by the CDS, according to an official order issued on Tuesday. The new department will have under it works relating to the three forces — Army, Navy and Air Force — and procurement exclusive to the services, except capital acquisitions, according to prevalent rules and procedures, it said.
The CDS will also be member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the defence minister and Defence Planning Committee chaired by the NSA.
A high-level committee set up to examine the gaps in the country’s security system in the wake of the Kargil war in 1999 had called for appointment of a CDS as a single-point military adviser to the defence minister.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the creation of the CDS post in his Independence Day speech this year. General Rawat assumed charge as Chief of Army Staff on December 31, 2016. He was to retire on Tuesday from the service. Before becoming the Army Chief, he handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the Northeast.
Last week, Gen Bipin Rawat drew criticism from the opposition parties after he publicly criticised people leading protests over the new citizenship law, saying leadership is not about guiding masses to carry out arson and violence across the country.
There were also sharp reactions from activists and military veterans who accused him of making political remarks, thereby compromising the long-held convention in the Army of not wading into political matters.
In his three-year tenure as Army Chief, he has faced allegations of not remaining politically neutral. An alumnus of St Edward School, Shimla, and the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, he was commissioned into the 11th Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in December 1978.
He has has vast experience in operations across a wide spectrum of conflict and terrain profiles. He commanded an Infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley, and a Corps in the North East.
He had also commanded a multinational brigade in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). Gen Rawat is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command and National Defence College courses and, has attended the Command and General Staff Course at Fort Leavenworth, the US.
Indian Army congratulated Gen Rawat on being appointed as the first Chief of the Defence Staff. “It is a proud & historical moment. The appointment would bring in enhanced #Synergy #Jointness #Interoperability in the Armed forces,” the Army tweeted.(NEws 18)