Chief of army staff breaks trend, appoints No. 2 | india | Hindustan Times
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Chief of army staff breaks trend, appoints No. 2

The Indian Army will ring in the New Year with changes in its top hierarchy, with senior generals taking up key assignments on December 31 and setting the stage for a change of guard next year.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2013 01:28 IST
Rahul Singh

The Indian Army will ring in the New Year with changes in its top hierarchy, with senior generals taking up key assignments on December 31 and setting the stage for a change of guard next year.

General Bikram Singh has reversed the recent trend of army chiefs shying away from appointing their likely successors as vice-chiefs ostensibly due to the force’s "internal politics," with lieutenant general Dalbir Singh set to take over as the chief’s number two general at Army headquarters on Tuesday.

General Dalbir Singh, who is tipped to replace the current chief on July 31, is currently heading the crucial Kolkata-based Eastern Command, responsible for guarding India’s border with China in the eastern sector.

His appointment as vice-chief could be the harbinger of a smooth transition at the top, a senior government official said.

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The tense relationship between General Bikram Singh and his predecessor General VK Singh played out in public, much to the embarrassment of the force and the government.

A now disbanded spy unit, controlled directly by VK Singh, was accused of diverting money to compromise Bikram Singh’s chances of taking over as army chief.

VK Singh had bypassed Bikram Singh for the post of vice-chief, despite the latter being the front-runner to become the army chief. VK Singh too had been overlooked for the vice-chief’s post by his predecessor, General Deepak Kapoor.

The chiefs of crucial directorates such as military operations and military intelligence report to the vice-chief.

In some other top appointments, lieutenant general MMS Rai will replace Dalbir Singh at the Eastern Command on December 31, the same day lieutenant general Arun Kumar Sahni takes over as the chief of the Jaipur-based South Western Command.