INDIA. Mumbai: After incumbent Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane retired from service on Saturday, Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) Gen Manoj Pande assumed command as the 29th Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
Gen. MM Naravane, COAS, was honoured with a ceremonial guard of honour on the South Block grounds on the occasion of relinquishing the position of Chief of Army Staff.
Gen. Pande, who was the VCOAS at the time, was the first commander from the Corps of Engineers to be named COAS. He led the Eastern Army Command, which was entrusted with guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors, until taking over as VCAS on February 1.
When India faces security problems along the Line of Control and the Line of Actual Control with Pakistan and China, respectively, Gen Pande has taken over as COAS. As Army Chief, he will be responsible for coordinating the government’s strategy to implement theatre command with the Indian Navy and Air Force.
Gen Pande was also the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN), India’s only tri-services command, during his tenure.
After graduation from the National Defence Academy in December 1982, Gen Pande was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers). In conventional and counter-insurgency operations in various types of terrain, he has held several notable command and staff positions.
During Operation Parakram in Jammu and Kashmir, he led an engineer regiment along the Line of Control, an engineer brigade in the western sector, an infantry brigade along the LoC. LoC is a mountain division in a high-altitude area of Western Ladakh, and a corps in the northeast.
His staff assignments include Brigade Major of a Mountain Brigade in the Northeast, Assistant Military Secretary (AMS) in the Military Secretary’s Branch, and Brigadier General Staff (Operations) at the Eastern Command headquarters.