New Delhi: General Manoj Mukund Naravane Tuesday took charge as the 28th Chief of Army Staff, a 1.3 million-strong force, succeeding General Bipin Rawat who has been appointed India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
“It’s an honour to be given this responsibility,” Gen. Naravane said seconds after taking over as the Army chief.
Asked about the challenges he thinks lies ahead, the new chief said, “Will have to deliberate on it in times to come.”
His elevation and Rawat’s appointment as CDS mean that for the first time, the country has two serving four-star Generals.
Rawat has not retired from service as his tenure continues by virtue of his appointment as CDS. While he has demitted the office of COAS, he will assume charge as the CDS Wednesday.
The ‘quintessential Army man’
Hailing from the 7 Sikh Light Infantry, Naravane, who was the vice-chief of the Army, has 37 years of service and is known in military circles as the “quintessential Army man”.
He has served in numerous command and staff appointments in peace, field and highly active counter-insurgency environments in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.
He also commanded a Rashtriya Rifles battalion in Jammu and Kashmir and an infantry brigade on the eastern front.
Before being appointed vice-chief of the Army, Naravane headed the Army’s crucial Eastern Command that takes care of India’s nearly 4,000-km-long border with China.
The officer was part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka during the civil war in the island and served as India’s defence attache at the Indian embassy in Myanmar for three years.
He is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and Higher Command Course, Mhow. He holds a Master’s Degree in Defence Studies, an M. Phil Degree in Defence and Management Studies and is currently pursuing his Doctorate.