From Christina Palmer & Manjeet Kaur
NEW DELHI: The Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi has ultimately nominated Lt General Manoj Mukund Naravane as next Chief of Army Staff, who is set to take the reigns of the Indian Army from 31st December, official sources said on Monday. Lt General Naravane is originally the pick of Indian National Security Advisor, Ajeet Doval, who has closed ranks with the former. The nomination, overlooking Lt General Ranbir Singh, another aspirant for the top job, who is a Sikh, has left the entire Sikh community and Sikh soldiers and officers of Indian Army in a shock, without assigning any reasons of the ignoring him. The Daily Mail, in its edition of 29th November, 2019, had published a story in this regard and subsequently now this development has confirmed that report.
Lt General Naravane is currently serving as Vice Chief of the Army. Army chief General Bipin Rawat is due for retirement on December 31. Before taking charge as vice chief of the Army Staff in September, Lt General Naravane was heading the Eastern Command of the Army which takes care of India’s nearly 4,000-km border with China.
In his 37 years of service, Lt General Naravane has served in numerous command and staff appointments in peace, field and highly active counter-insurgency environments in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast. He has also commanded a Rashtriya Rifles Battalion in Jammu and Kashmir and an infantry brigade on the eastern front.
He was also part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka and had served as India’s defence attache at the Indian Embassy in Myanmar for three years.
Lt General Naravane is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy. He was commissioned into the 7th battalion, the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment in June 1980. The General is a decorated officer who has been awarded the ‘Sena Medal’ (Distinguished) for effectively commanding his battalion in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.