Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Bikram Singh will be the next Chief of Staff of the 1.3 million-strong Indian Army. He will succeed General Vijay Kumar Singh, who retires on May 31.

The announcement by the Defence Ministry on Saturday came 90 days ahead of the scheduled day of assumption of charge — as against the 60-day norm the government has been following. The move removes uncertainty over the successor following a rash of speculative reports that Gen. Singh could put in his papers early which could alter the succession plan of the senior-most Army Commander taking over as the next Chief.

The appointment came a day after the incumbent Army Chief said he was not going to resign, effectively countering speculative reports by some television channels and dailies that Gen. Singh would resign after the Supreme Court disposed of his petition last month on the controversy over his year of birth.

Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh was commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment on March 31, 1972 and during the last four decades, he has served in a variety of Command and Staff appointments.

Besides having commanded a Corps in the Northern Command, he served as Deputy Force Commander of the multination U.N. Peace Keeping Mission in Congo. He also served as U.N. observer in Nicaragua and El Salvador during early 1990s.

Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh has studied with distinction at the Defence Services Staff College, the Army War College and the U.S. Army War College, Pennsylvania. He also has an M. Phil in Defence Management from Indore University. He is a recipient of the PVSM, the UYSM, the AVSM, the Sena Medal and the VSM and was one of the Honorary ADCs to the President of India.

More In: National | News