New Delhi: Ending the suspense, the government
on Saturday today announced the appointment of Lt Gen Bikram Singh as the
next Army Chief from May 31 to succeed Gen V K Singh.
59-year-old Lt Gen Singh, the Eastern Army Commander,
will head the 13-lakh strong force and have a tenure of just
over two years till August 2014.
"Lt Gen Singh has been designated as the next Chief of
Army Staff, in the rank of General, with effect from the
afternoon of 31 May 2012," Defence Ministry spokesperson
Sitanshu Kar said here.
"He will succeed the present COAS Gen V K Singh, who
retires from the service on May 31," he added.
As per the normal practice, the appointment of Chiefs of
Defence Services is announced 60 days in advance but in this
case, the government made the announcement 90 days in advance.
Lt Gen Bikram Singh was the senior-most among the present
Army Commanders but his appointment as the Chief of Army Staff
had got caught in a suspense as Gen V K Singh was fighting out
his date of birth battle that would have given him tenure till
April next year.
There had been questions over Gen Bikram Singh in
connection with an alleged fake encounter in Kashmir but the
government went ahead to appoint him as the Army Chief.
Gen V K Singh, who had two dates of birth in his official
records, had dragged the government to the Supreme Court,
contending that he was born on May 10, 1951 and not a year
earlier rpt earlier.
However, the top court refused to accept his contention,
holding that he had taken promotions on the basis of May
10,1950 as his date of birth and could not "resile" on his
commitment accepting that date.
Lt Gen Bikram Singh was commissioned into the Sikh Light
Infantry Regiment on 31 March 1972 and has served in various
key formations during his 40-year career.
Among the various positions held by him, he has commanded
Srinagar-based 15 Corps during militancy.
He has also served as Deputy Force Commander of a
multi-nation UN Peace Keeping Mission in Congo and as UN
Observer in Nicaragua and El Salvador during the early 90s.
Lt Gen Bikram Singh has passed out with distinction from
the Defence Services Staff College, the Army War College and
the US Army War College, Pennsylvania.
He is married to Surjeet Kaur and the couple have two