Army Vice Lieutenant General Manoj Pande has been appointed the new Chief of the Army Staff. The 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, currently the vice-chief, will assume charge of his new role on May 1.
With this appointment, Lt Gen. Pande will be the senior-most army officer. Notably, he is the first engineer to be appointed as Army Chief.
Who is Lt Gen. Manoj Pande?
Lt Gen. Manoj Pande is a graduate of National Defense Academy. He was commissioned into Bombay Sappers, one of the regiments in the Corps of Engineers, in December 1982. In his 39-year illustrious military career, Lt Gen. Pande held various posts in high ranks.
After returning from the UK, where he attended the Staff College, Camberley, he was appointment Brigade Major of a mountain brigade and a corps in the Northeast. He even commanded the 117 Engineer Regiment along the LoC in J&K, and during operation Parakram in the Pallanwala sector along the LoC in J&K.
Lt Gen. Pande served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command in April 2020 before he took charge of the Eastern Command in 2021. When Lt Gen. Pande was promoted to the rank of Major General, he took command of 8 Mountain Division. He then moved to Army HQ and was appointed Director General.
Most recently, he was appointed the Vice Chief of the Army Staff succeeding Lt Gen. Chandi Prasad Mohanty upon his superannuation on January 31, 2022. He has received many awards for his service, including Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, the Chief of Army Staff Commendation and twice GOC-in-C Commendation.