File image: General Bipin Rawat
Outgoing Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has been named India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, a position recently created by the Centre, to serve as the single-point advisor to the government in matters related to the military.
As the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Rawat will be tasked with bettering the synergy between the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. He will be the principle military advisor to the Union Defence Minister on tri-service matters.
Gen Rawat has had a long and illustrious career as an officer of the Indian Army. He was appointed as the 27th Chief of Army Staff three years ago on December 31, 2016. He had superceded two senior officers to occupy the position, becoming only the second officer to be appointed to the Army chief’s post in this manner after Gen AS Vaidya, who had superceded Gen SK Sinha, and was given charge of the post by then PM Indira Gandhi in 1983.
At that time, government sources had said he was best suited for the role given his experience in combat as well as various other functional positions in the Army for over 30 years. Before becoming the Army Chief, he handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the Northeast.
Gen Bipin Rawat completed his education at St Edward School, Shimla and is an alumnus of National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. He was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleventh Gorkha Rifles in December 1978 from the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, where he was also awarded the Sword of Honour.
Gen Rawat has had experience in high-altitude warfare and counter-insurgency operations. He commanded an Infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley, and a Corps in the Northeast. He had also commanded a multinational brigade in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Academically inclined, he has written numerous articles on ‘national security’ and ‘leadership’, which have been published in various journals.
Last week, Gen Rawat drew flak after he publicly criticised
those leading the anti-CAA protests. Several military veterans accused him of making political remarks, thereby violating Section 21 of the Army Rules, 1954, which bars the Army from wading into political matters. In his three-year tenure as Army Chief, he also faced allegations of not remaining politically neutral.