Army, Air Force To Wait For New Chiefs

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New Delhi: Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and IAF top boss Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha will both superannuate on December 31.

Even as tensions continue to mount on the border, Indian Army and the Air Force await a change in the top brass as their chiefs superannuate by the year-end. However, suspense about their successors continues as official notifications from the government are delayed.

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Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and IAF top boss Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha will both superannuate on December 31. According to the normal practice, the next Chief is announced three months in advance. The senior most Army Commander in the service is usually appointed the chief and the announcement is only a formality.

In the Army, the present Eastern Army Commander Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi is the senior most and, by convention, is expected to be the next chief. Incidentally, the last three chiefs have been Eastern Army Commanders and it will be a continuation of the tradition if Lt. Gen. Bakshi is confirmed.

He would, in the event, also be the first officer from the armored corps to head the service and this has caused some rumblings within the Infantry, the largest constituent of the Army. “Infantry is not happy with an armored corps officer becoming the Chief,” one officer observed.

In the IAF, the present Vice Chief Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, also a fighter pilot like his predecessor, is slated to take over from Air Chief Marshal Raha.

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