General VK Singh, who took over the reins of the Army 26 months ago with an image of an anti-corruption crusader, retires as Army chief today bringing to an end a controversial tenure that was marred by rows over his age and fissures among the military brass.
62-year-old Singh, who hung up his boots after 42 years of service, will be succeeded by Eastern Army commander Gen Bikram Singh, who will have a tenure of two years and three months.
Gen VK Singh, who took over as the Army chief on March 31, 2010 with an image of an honest, firm and an upright officer, leaves behind a legacy of controversies starting from a row regarding his age.
Opinions were divided on the tenure among former top officials of armed forces with some hailing him and others criticising him.
Even as controversies clouded the last few months of his tenure as the head of the 1.3 million-strong force, he had laid the roadmap for transformation of the army into a lean and mean fighting unit.
He had also flagged concerns over the shortage of arms and ammunition and impressed on government the urgent need for immediate steps to shore up purchases.
A native of Bapora village in Rohtak district of Haryana, Gen VK Singh's tenure saw the unprecedented step of an Army chief dragging the government to court seeking a change of date of birth in official records that would have given him an extra ten months in service.