New Delhi: In a significant rejig of the Indian Army on Friday, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, who announced the September 2016 surgical strikes in Pakistan, assumed the charge of the new Northern Army Commander, replacing Lt Gen Devraj Anbu who took over as the new Vice Chief of Army Staff. Lt Gen Singh, 58, will be the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Northern Command headquartered at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.
He was the Director General Military Operations (DGMO) when Indian Army commandos carried out the surgical strikes against insurgent camps in Myanmar in June 2015 and terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on September 29, 2016. He was the officer who briefed the media about the operations.
Having served as a Colonel and Brigadier in the military operations directorate that oversees and coordinates all operations and troop movements, Lt Gen Singh is likely to be one of the front-runners for the Army Chief's post when General Bipin Rawat ends his tenure in December 2019.
Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane, who now heads the Army Training Command at Shimla and is senior to Lt Gen Singh, will be another front-runner for the post to lead the second largest army in the world after China and the US.
Lt Gen Singh was commissioned into the 9th Battalion of the Dogra Regiment in 1980 and has had varied staff and command exposures. He has commanded a Mountain Brigade, an Armoured Division and a Strike Corps.
His tenures also include United Nations Peacekeeping assignment at Rwanda and Chief Operations Officer at Sudan.
Lt Gen Devraj Anbu, one of the highly decorated officers, also assumed the charge of Vice Chief of the Army Staff on Friday, succeeding Lt Gen Sarath Chand.
Lt Gen Chand handed over the baton to Lt Gen Anbu in a ceremony at South Block in Delhi.
Lt Gen Anbu is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy Khadakvasla. He was commissioned into the 14 Sikh Light Infantry on June 7, 1980 and has rich operational experience with the distinction of serving in all types of operational environment to include Siachen Glacier, counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir and northeast as well as in 'OP PAWAN' in Sri Lanka.
During his 37-year military career, the General Officer commanded his unit during 'OP PARAKRAM', an Infantry Brigade on the Line of Control in the Kashmir Valley, a Mountain Division in Sikkim, the Indian Military Training Team in Bhutan and Gajraj Corps in the Eastern Theatre.
The General is highly decorated and has been awarded the Sena Medal (Gallantry) for operations in 'OP Meghdoot', Yudh Seva Medal during command of the Brigade, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal during command of the Division and Uttam Yudh Seva Medal during the command of an elite operational Corps.
He had three important staff tenures at the Army Headquarters besides holding General Staff operation appointment at the Division and Corps HQ in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir respectively.
He was the Instructor at the National Defence Academy and an International Military Observer with UN Peacekeeping Mission, UNTAG (United Nations Transition Assistance Group) at Namibia.