New Delhi: General Dalbir Singh Suhag, whose appointment as Army Chief had kicked up a row, today took over as the head of the 1.3 million strong force succeeding Gen Bikram Singh.
Gen Suhag assumed charge after his predecessor handed over to him the Chief of Army Staff baton in his South Block office here.
The new Chief takes over at a time when the force is facing challenges of modernsation in its artillery, infantry and air defence arms and is also preparing itself for facing a possible multi-front war.
General Dalbir Singh Suhag, the new Chief of the Indian Army. Pic/AFP
59-year-old Suhag, a Gurkha officer who had participated in the 1987 Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operation in Sri Lanka, was till now the Vice Chief of Army Staff. He will have a tenure of 30 months as the 26th Army Chief.
Suhag was made the Vice Chief of Army Staff in December last year. Before that, he was the Eastern Army Commander from June 16, 2012. He was at the centre of a controversy triggered by 'discipline and vigilance' ban imposed on him by the then Army Chief Gen V K Singh in connection with an intelligence operation in Assam earlier. The ban on Suhag, the then 3 Corps Commander, was lifted soon after Gen Bikram Singh took over in May 2012.
BJP had questioned the hurry in making the appointment and insisted that the matter be left to the next government. However, soon after the NDA government took over, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had said the new dispensation will continue with the appointment made during the UPA rule.