Army Vice Lieutenant General Manoj Pande is all set to become Chief of the Army Staff with incumbent Army Chief General M.M. Naravane, seen as the frontrunner for the Chief of Defence Staff's post, is due to retire by the end of this month.

Lt Gen Pande will take over the reign as he is the senior-most in the force after General Naravane.

In the meantime, Gen Naravane is the front runner for the post of Chief of Defence Staff after the passing of General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash in December last year.

Vice chief Lt Gen Manoj Pande
Vice chief Lt Gen Manoj PandeIANS

General Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 12 armed personnel were killed in a chopper crash on December 8, 2021.

Next Army chief

Lt Gen Pande became the senior-most after a few top officers retired in the last three months. The incumbent Lt Gen Raj Shukla who was commanding Army's training command (ARTRAC) retired on March 31.

A few other senior-most leaders had retired by January end. Lieutenant General C.P. Mohanty and Lt Gen Y.K. Joshi retired on January 31.

On New Year Day, Indian Army flew Tiranga high in Galwan Valley.

This March-end, there were also rejigs in the force. Lt Gen S.S. Mahal assumed command of ARTRAC at Shimla after Lt Gen Raj Shukla hung his boots.

Lt Gen C. Bansi Ponnappa took charge of Adjutant General of the Army. Lt Gen JP Mathews took over as the General Officer Commanding the Uttar Bharat area.

(With inputs from IANS)