Lieutenant General Manoj Pande has been appointed as the next chief of the Indian Army on Monday. Lt Gen Pande, the 29th Army Chief, will be the first Chief of Army Staff from the Corps of Engineers. He will succeed General Manoj Mukund Naravane. Gen Naravane is scheduled to retire on April 30 after completing 28-month tenure as the Army Chief. Meanwhile, the decision on the vacant Chief of Defence Staff post is still pending. Speculations are rife that Gen Naravane is likely to be the next CDS.
Lt Gen Pande is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy. He was commissioned into the Bombay Sappers, one of the regiments in the Corps of Engineers in December 1982. During Operation Parakram in the Pallanwala sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, Lt Gen Pande commanded an engineer regiment.
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Notably, operation Prakaram was carried out after the terror attack on Parliament in December 2001. During this operation, a large-scale of troops and weapons were mobilised to the western border.
After the Higher Command Course at the Army War College in Mhow, Lt Gen Pande was appointed Colonel Q at HQ 8 Mountain Division. He was then promoted to the rank of Brigadier and given command of an Engineer brigade as part of a Strike Corps in the western theatre.
Lt Gen Pande also commanded the 52 Infantry Brigade, positioned along the LOC. Pande was selected to attend the prestigious National Defence College. After completing the course, he was appointed Brigadier General Staff Operations (BGS-Ops) at HQ Eastern Command. Lt Gen Pande took command of the 8 Mountain Division after promotion to the rank of Major General.
Lt Gen Pande assumed Andaman and Nicobar Command on June 1, 2022. Last year in June, he took charge of the Eastern Command. Lt Gen Pande was appointed as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff succeeding Lieutenant General Chandi Prasad Mohanty in January this year.