Eastern and Andaman Nicobar Commands of the Indian Army get new commanders

By: |
June 01, 2021 3:13 PM

The Eastern command looks after the critical LAC with China and borders with Myanmar in the East as well as anti-insurgency operations in the North-East.

Lt Gen Ajai SinghLt Gen Ajai Singh. (Photo source: MoD)

In the backdrop of the ongoing stand-off between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the most important Eastern Command got a new commander Lt Gen Manoj Pande.

He took charge on Tuesday from Lt Gen Anil Chauhan who retired as the Eastern Commander Monday. The Eastern command looks after the critical LAC with China and borders with Myanmar in the East as well as anti-insurgency operations in the North-East.

More about Lt Gen Pande

He was heading country’s only tri-service command, Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) until Monday (May 31, 2021) and is set to become the senior most in the hierarchy of the Indian Army when the present Army Chief Gen MM Naravane retires in 2022.

And, according to tradition, the senior most becomes the Chief of the Army Staff. If he becomes a chief, he will be creating history of sorts. Why? Because there has never been a chief from the Corps of Engineers.

He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, and was commissioned in December 1982 in the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers).

He takes over the Eastern Command as a veteran of the region. He has experience of working in various capacities in the region — the commander of the Tezpur-based 4 Corps which looks after the LAC and counter-insurgency operations.

Served as brigade general staff (Operations) at the Eastern Command Headquarters and has been a Brigade Major of a Mountain Brigade in the North-East, posted along the LAC and in counter-insurgency operations.

Other commands include the 117 Engineer Regiment during Operation Parakram in the Pallanwala Sector of Jammu and Kashmir, along the Line of Control (LOC).

Graduate of Staff College, Camberley (United Kingdom), attended the Higher Command (HC) and National Defence College (NDC) courses.

Commanded an Engineer Brigade in the Western Theatre, which was part of Strike Corps.

Commanded 52 Infantry Brigade which was deployed along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, 8 Mountain Division within the High Altitude Area of Western Ladakh.

According to the Army, he has served as chief engineer in the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Held appointments of additional director general in the Military Operations Directorate at Army Headquarters and chief of Staff Headquarters, Southern Command.

Andaman and Nicobar

The ANC will now be headed by Lt Gen Ajai Singh, who will be the 16th Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN). Presently, the command, which is undergoing a huge up-gradation of the infrastructure, plays a critical role in the Indian Ocean Region and is keeping an eye on the belligerent Chinese activities in the area. This command will be playing a very critical role in the planned theaterisation of the Indian Armed Forces.

Know more about Lt Gen Ajai Singh

Before taking over as CINCAN, Lt Gen Singh was heading one of the Strike Corps which was aimed at Pakistan – Bathinda based 10 Corps.

He is a 5th generation Army officer and is a Cavalry/Armoured Corps officer, and according to Indian Army, he comes from a family which has been in service for around 162 years since 13 September 1858. He was commissioned into the 81 Armoured Regiment, a regiment raised by his late father.

Besides authoring two major studies related to operations and the re-organisation of the Army HQtrs, he has held various appointments across the Indian Army’s six commands across the country as well as the Army Training Command.

Served as the military observer at Angola as part of the UN posting, and has undertaken volunteer tenures with the infantry for counter-insurgency operations not only in the Kashmir valley but also in the North-East.

Posted to a battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry, and at that time commanded a Rifle Company in Operations Vijay (Kargil) and Meghdoot (Siachen Glacier). He is a recipient of the Army Chief’s Commendation for gallantry.

Additional DG at the Military Operations Directorate, and has been the Director General (DG) of financial planning. And has also been DG of military training.

More about Lt Gen Chauhan

In the eastern region of the country, he has led the Army’s response against the Chinese aggression along the LAC since last April.

Before he headed to the Eastern Command in 2020, he was the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO).

He was one of the main architects of ‘Operation Sunrise’ in which both Indian and Myanmar armies had carried out coordinated action against insurgent groups which were operating near the border between two countries.

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