Lieutenant General Manoj Pande has been named the new Army Chief, news agency ANI reported on Monday.
Lt Gen Pande will take over the reign as he is the senior-most in the force after General M.M Naravane, who is due to retire by the end of this month.
Lt Gen Pande became the senior-most after a few top officers retired in last three months. The incumbent Lt Gen Raj Shukla who was commanding Army's training command (ARTRAC) retired on March 31.
A few other senior-most leaders had retired by January end. Lieutenant General C.P. Mohanty and Lt Gen Y.K. Joshi retired on January 31.
Lt Gen Pande, meanwhile, is the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to become the Army chief, a post so far occupied by Infantry, Armoured and Artillery officers.
In February this year, Lt Gen Pande took over as the Army’s vice chief. Before that, he was heading the Kolkata-based HQs Eastern Command.
Lt Gen Pande is one of the prime proponents of greater integration of technology along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Sources told The Print that he will bring with him both operational and logistics experience.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Pande was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers in December 1982.
He commanded an engineer regiment during Operation Parakram in the Pallanwala Sector along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
In his military career, Lt General Pande has commanded an engineer brigade in the western theatre, infantry brigade along LoC, a mountain division in the Ladakh sector and a corps in the North-east.
He was the commander-in-chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command before he took charge of the Eastern Command.
Meanwhile, Gen Naravane is the front runner for the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) after the passing of General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash in December last year.
General Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 12 armed personnel were killed in a chopper crash on December 8, 2021.