Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, the vice chief of the Indian Army, was named the new Indian Army chief, while Air Marshal BS Dhanoa's name was announced for the post of the new Indian Air Force chief on Saturday.
Rawat will succeed the current Indian Army chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhaag. Dhanoa will take over from the Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha. They will take charge of the top posts on January 1.
The announcement by the government came a day after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he would name the Indian Army and Indian Air Force chiefs soon. It was expected as both the Indian Army and Indian Air Force chiefs will retire on December 31. Usually, the chiefs of Army and Indian Air Force are announced 60 days before the serving chiefs retire.
Lt Gen Bipin Rawat was one of the front runners for the top post, along with the Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen. Praveen Bakshi, and Southern Army Commander Lt. Gen. PM Hariz.
He belongs to the 5th Battalion of the 11th Gorkha Rifles and has held many important positions, including commanding a Multinational Brigade, in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), leading an Infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector and Major General General Staff at HQ Eastern Command. He was also awarded the Force Commander's Commendation twice while serving the United Nations.
Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa is a Kargil war veteran. He was commissioned in the IAF in June 1978 as a fighter pilot and commanded a fighter squadron during the Operation Vijay in 1999. He was the Chief Instructor at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air Headquarters, Senior Air Staff Officer of two operational Commands, and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Command before holding Vice-Chief of IAF position.