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Who Is Lt Gen Manoj Pande – India’s New Army Chief

Indian Army Lieutenant General Manoj Pande will be the new chief of the Indian Army as incumbent Army Chief General MM Naravane is being seen as the frontrunner for the Chief of Defence Staff’s post. Lieutenant General Pande is the first engineer to hold the top military post.

Lt. Gen. Manoj Pande became the seniormost after a few top officers retired over the past three months.

  • Lt Gen Raj Shukla, who was commanding Army’s training command (ARTRAC), retired on March 31.
  • Lt Gen CP Mohanty and Lt Gen YK Joshi retired on January 31.

There were also reorganization in the Indian Army by the end of March.

  • Lt Gen SS Mahal assumed command of ARTRAC at Shimla.
  • Lt Gen C Bansi Ponnappa took charge as the Adjutant General of the Army.
  • Lt Gen JP Mathews took over as the General Officer Commanding Uttar Bharat area.

Lt. Gen. Pande took charge as the new Vice Chief of the Indian Army, succeeding Lt Gen C P Mohanty, in February 2022. He was serving as the Eastern Army Commander before assuming the role.

Lt Gen Manoj Pande, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, was commissioned in December 1982 in the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers). He has commanded 117 Engineer Regiment during Operation PARAKRAM in the sensitive Pallanwala Sector of Jammu and Kashmir, along the Line of Control. New Army General Manoj Pande is a graduate of Staff College, Camberley (United Kingdom) and attended the Higher Command (HC) and National Defence College (NDC) Courses.

In his 39-year distinguished military career, he has tenanted important and challenging command and staff appointments in different operational environments. It includes command of an Engineer Brigade in the Western Theatre as part of Strike Corps; an Infantry Brigade along Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, a Mountain Division in the High Altitude Area of Western Ladakh and command of a Corps deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and in Counter Insurgency Operations area of Eastern Command.

His staff exposures include Brigade Major of a Mountain Brigade in the North East, Assistant Military Secretary (AMS) in Military Secretary’s Branch, Colonel Q of a Mountain Division in High Altitude Area and Brigadier General Staff (Operations) at Headquarters Eastern Command.

He has served as a Chief Engineer in the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. He has also tenanted the appointments of Additional Director General in the Military Operations Directorate at Army Headquarters, Chief of Staff Headquarters Southern Command and Director General Discipline Ceremonial & Welfare at the Army Headquarters.

He was the Commander-in-Chief Andaman & Nicobar Command (CINCAN) from June 2020 to May 2021 and the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command from June 2021 to January 2022. He took over as the Vice Chief of Army Staff on February 1, 2022.

For his distinguished service he has been conferred with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, the Chief of Army Staff Commendation and twice with GOC-in-C Commendation. He is also the Colonel Commandant, The Bombay Sappers.

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