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New top guns: A look at the next army, air force and spy chiefs

india Updated: Dec 18, 2016 10:32 IST
HT Correspondent
Lt Gen Bipin Rawat

File photo of Lt Gen Bipin Rawat and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa.

The government announced on Saturday the names of the new army and airforce chief along with the heads of the spy agencies.

Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat will take over as the new chief of army staff from General Dalbir Singh Suhag as the head of the 1.3 million strong force and Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa has been chosen as the new chief of the Indian Air Force, the ministry said.

The government also announced Anil Dhasmana as the new chief of the Research and Analysis Wing while Rajiv Jain will head the domestic agency Intelligence Bureau.

These are the first high profile defence appointments by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.

Read | ‘What about seniority’: Cong questions new army chief Bipin Rawat’s appointment

Here’s a look at the appointments:

INDIAN ARMY: Lt Gen Bipin Rawat

Commissioned in the 11 Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, Rawat has commanded an infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control, a Rashtriya Rifles sector and an infantry division in the Kashmir Valley. He has vast experience in high-altitude warfare and counter-insurgency operations.

A tough fighter
  • Lt Gen Bipin Rawat joined the Indian Army in Dec 1978
  • He was commissioned into 5/11 Gorkha Rifles
  • He is second consecutive chief from the Gorkha Rifles
  • General Rawat’s father was also a lieutenant general
  • Rawat was commanding the Pune-based Southern Command before he was appointed army vice-chief
  • Rawat miraculously survived a chopper accident when he was commander the Dimapur-based Headquarters 3 Corps
  • He headed the Indian brigade during the UN peacekeeping operation in Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2008
  • The general is credited with providing dynamic leadership under the UN banner
  • Indian peacekeepers switched approach under his command

INDIAN AIR FORCE: Air Marshal BS Dhanoa

Dhanoa has flown various types of fighter aircraft and is a qualified flying instructor. He commanded a fighter squadron during the Kargil Operations and flew numerous night strike missions in the mountainous terrain.

An action-packed career
  • Air Marshal BS Dhanoa joined the IAF as a fighter pilot in June 1978
  • His father, SS Dhanoa, was the chief secretary of Punjab
  • Dhanoa saw action during the Kargil war and was awarded Yudh Seva Medal
  • He is currently the IAF’S vice-chief and before that was heading the South-Western Air Command
  • He will be the third Sikh to head the IAF after distinguished military leaders Arjan Singh and Dilbag Singh

INTELLIGENCE BUREAU: Rajiv Jain

The New IB chief is expected to sharpen focus on coordinating the government’s financial surveillance programme after demonetisation.

A seasoned hand
  • Rajiv Jain, a 1980-batch officer, joined the IB in 1989 as assistant director
  • Jharkhand-cadre officer Jain, is the senior-most special director with the IB
  • He is the domestic intelligence wing’s pointsman for other agencies in the government’s demonetisation exercise
  • Jain handled assignments as chief of Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB)
  • Headed the Ahmedabad SIB between 2005 and 2008, and later in Delhi from 2008 to 2012
  • Jain, who is at present serving as the Special Director in the IB, will take over on January 1 after the incumbent Dineshwar Sharma completes his two-year tenure on December 31
  • He was advisor to the previous NDA government’s interlocutor on Kashmir K C Pant when talks were held with separatist leaders like Shabbir Shah

RESEARCH and ANALYSIS WING: Anil Kumar Dhasmana

Anil Kumar Dhasmana, who joined the RAW in 1993 from his parent cadre Madhya Pradesh, has worked extensively with the external intelligence agency’s Pakistan desk.

An expert on Pakistan
  • Anil Kumar Dhasmana joined the R&AW in 1993
  • He is known to be a Pakistan expert
  • Dhasmana is a 1981-batch IPS officer

Read | Eight things you need to know about new army chief Bipin Rawat

(With inputs from agencies)