Lt. Gen. Suhag named new army chief

New Delhi, May 14 (IANS): The government Wednesday named Lt. Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Indian Army chief. He will succeed incumbent Gen Bikram Singh on his retirement on July 31.

"Government have decided to appoint Lt. General Dalbir Singh, presently Vice Chief of the Army Staff as the next Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) after retirement of the present Chief of the Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, on July 31, 2014," a defence ministry statement said.

Prior to his present appointment, Lt. Gen. Suhag headed the Kolkata-based Eastern Army Command.

Commissioned on June 16, 1974, Lt. Gen. Suhag has in a career spanning nearly 40 years held various command and staff appointments. 

An alumnus of the Sainik School Chittorgarh, Lt. Gen. Suhag's name was cleared Tuesday during the last working cabinet meeting of the Congress-led UPA government, which demits office Saturday, a day after the Lok Sabha election results are announced.

A veteran infantary officer, he has been decorated with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM), Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM).

The defence ministry had on Monday recommended his name to the government as the next head of the Indian Army. This was after the Election Commission gave its nod to making the announcement.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had objected to the new army chief being named, saying there was no hurry and the decision should be left to the new government.

The former army chief, Gen. V.K. Singh had imposed a disciplinary ban on Lt. Gen. Suhag in connection with an intelligence operation in Assam. Gen. Bikram Singh lifted the ban soon after he took over in May 2012.

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