Army chief General Dalbir Singh with his pet ‘Juno’ in New Delhi recently.
Army chief General Dalbir Singh with his pet ‘Juno’ in New Delhi recently.

New Delhi : General Dalbir Singh Suhag on Thursday took over as the new chief of the 1.3 million strong Indian Army. He succeeds General Bikram Singh, who retired Thursday.

General Suhag assumed charge after his predecessor handed over to him the Chief of Army Staff baton in his South Block office.

The decision to appoint Gen. Suhag, who was the army vice chief, as the next chief was taken by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government during the April-May general elections, and days before it demitted office.

The BJP, at that time, objected to the decision. However, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, soon after assuming charge, made it clear that there ‘shall be no controversy’ over Gen. Suhag’s appointment.

Gen. Suhag’s tenure as the 26th chief of army staff will be for 30 months. He comes from a family of soldiers from a village in Jhajjar, Haryana.

For residents of Bisaan village, located about 85 km from New Delhi, it was a day they had been waiting for. Celebrations began with distribution of ladoos and bursting of crackers as a simple village boy Thursday went on to be Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

Even as his proud parents, Ramphal Singh and Ishri Devi, both aged above 80 years, were in New Delhi to be part of their son’s elevation, the villagers expressed happiness in their own way.

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