Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi will be the next Army chief; govt junks supersession rumours | India News

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NEW DELHI: Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi will take over as the next Army chief from General Manoj Pande on June 30, the govt announced late on Tuesday, junking all speculation that a supersession could be in the offing for the top post.
The government has gone by the seniority principle in appointing Lt-Gen Dwivedi, who was commissioned into the 18 Jammu & Kashmir Rifles in December 1984 and is currently the vice chief, as the 30th Army chief.
He will take over the reins of the 12-lakh strong force at a time when India remains locked in a tense military confrontation with China all along the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control, which is into its fifth year now, while there has been no let-up in Pakistan’s attempts to actively aid and abet cross-border terrorism.
In a highly unusual move on May 26, the government had granted a month’s extension to General Pande just six days before his slated retirement, triggering wide-spread speculation that a supersession in the military hierarchy was on the cards.
TOI, however, had then quoted a top government official as saying that “any speculation or controversy is unwarranted” because it had been decided that the top military post would be filled only after the election process was completed.
An alumnus of Sainik School at Rewa in Madhya Pradesh like the new Navy chief Admiral Dinesh Tripathi, Lt-Gen Dwivedi is well-versed with the threats posed by both China and Pakistan, having served a two-year tenure as the GoC-in-C of the Northern Command before becoming the vice chief in Feb this year.
China, which has till now rejected India’s push for sequential disengagement, de-escalation, and de-induction in eastern Ladakh, will be the foremost national security challenge that the new Army chief will have to grapple with. The People’s Liberation Army, which has upped the ante in the eastern sector as well, has over 1.4 lakh troops “forward deployed” along the entire LAC.
As the Northern Command chief, Lt-Gen Dwivedi provided “strategic guidance and operational oversight” for planning and executing sustained operations along the northern and western borders with China and Pakistan, in addition to overseeing the counter-terrorism operations in J&K. “During this period, Lt-Gen Dwivedi was actively engaged in the ongoing negotiations with China in resolving the vexed border issue,” a senior officer said.
With the relevance of ‘hard power’, drones, long-range vectors, force-sustenance and disruptive technologies being reinforced by recent conflicts around the globe, Lt-Gen Dwivedi will also have to determinedly push “transformation and modernization” of his force.
The Army is currently grappling with operational shortfalls in several fields ranging from helicopters and anti-tank guided missiles to air defence weapons and night-fighting capabilities. The new chief will also have to drive the overall “force-restructuring and optimisation” of the Army, which aims to reduce manpower by around 1 lakh personnel by 2027.

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