NATIONAL

Minor reshuffle likely at Army hq.

NEW DELHI, OCT. 31. The announcement of N.C. Vij's appointment as the 21st Army chief will also result in a minor resuufle at the apex level.

Shantanu Choudhary, at present heading the Army Training Command, Shimla, will be the next Vice-Chief of Army Staff. It will be a remarkable journey for Lt. Gen. Choudhary back to Army Headquarters in just three years when he was the Assistant Director, General Military Intelligence.

His place will be taken by J.J. Singh currently heading the strike corps.

With the retirement of the Northern Area Commander, R.K. Nanavaty, on the cards, the Government is planning to shift the Director General Infantry, Hari Prasad to his post. Nirbhay Sharma curently at the Army Headquaretrs here is likely to replace Lt. Gen. Singh. There are several other appointments "in-waiting'' such as that of Tej Kaul as the GoC-in-C Goa area.

Although Sundararajan Padmanabhan will lay down office as the Army chief on December 31, he could still serve at the South Block here provided the Government creates the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) before his retirement.

The Defence Minister, George Fernandes, had stated during a recent agency interview that the Government had completed political consultations on the issue and a decision would be taken "very soon''.

"Technically that is possible,'' said a senior offical, although according to unconfirmed reports, Gen. Padmanabhan has declined the post.

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