Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Bikram Singh will be the next Chief of Staff of Indian Army.

The Defence Ministry announced on Saturday that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh will succeed General Vijay Kumar Singh who retires on May 31 this year. The announcement came 90 days before the retirement of the present Army Chief as against the 60-day norm the government has been following.

The Defence Ministry made the announcement amidst speculations that General Vijay Kumar Singh might resign early after the Supreme Court disposed of his petition on the controversy over his date of birth.

General Vijay Kumar Singh's date of birth became crucial as it determine the next India Army Chief. Lt Gen Bikram Singh would succeed him if he retires this May but the coveted post would go to Lt Gen K T Parnaik if his retirement is extended.

Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh, who will be Indian Army Chief, was commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment on March 31, 1972. He has commanded a Corps in the Northern Command, served as Deputy Force Commander of the multination U.N. Peace Keeping Mission in Congo and served as U.N. observer in Nicaragua and El Salvador in the last four decades.

He did his studies at the Defence Services Staff College, the Army War College and the U.S. Army War College, Pennsylvania, and also did an M. Phil in Defence Management from Indore University. One of the Honorary ADCs to the President of India, he is a recipient of many awards including the PVSM, the UYSM, the AVSM, the VSM and the Sena Medal.