An intro to Lt Gen Bikram Singh, India's next army chief?
Lt Gen Bikram Singh seems most likely to succeed current Army chief VK Singh, following an unusually intense background check.
Lt Gen Bikram Singh, currently the Eastern Army Commander is slated to be the next Army chief, succeeding Gen VK Singh who will retire at the end of March. Before his Eastern Command assignment, he was the Director General of Staff Duties at the Integrated Head Quarters of MoD (Army).
The Economic Times reported that the process for appointing Gen VK Singh's successor was more rigorous than usual because of allegations that Lt Gen Bikram Singh's daughter-in-law was Pakistani, a factor that could have made his appointment untenable because of security concerns.
But ET sources say intelligence agencies have given a clean chit to Singh on this count. It reports, "according to the agencies, his eldest daughter-in-law is an American citizen, whose father is an Afghan and mother is from Central Asia. In fact, the agencies also reported that she had converted to Sikhism upon marriage."
In January this year, Lt Gen Bikram Singh was accused of staging a fake encounter by the mother of an alleged militant killed in firing by Rashtriya Rifles personnel in South Kashmir’s Anantnag town in March 2001 when he was a Brigadier. On 16 February, the Jammu and Kashmir high court gave a month's time to the defence ministry to submit its response on the petition filed in the case.
Lt Gen Bikram Singh was commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment in 1972 after finishing his course in the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy.
He is a a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command Course at MHOW and the US Army War College, Pennsylvania, USA.
Singh has served in three UN Peace-keeping Missions, his latest assignment being Deputy Force Commander and GOC of a Multinational Division in Africa, comprising officers and troops of 48 nationalities.
His notable appointments at Army Headquarters include two tenures each in the Directorate General of Military Operations and the Directorate General of Perspective Planning.
The Indian Army website says:
"During his over 38 years of eventful military career and active service, he has held a number of important Command and Staff appointments. He has commanded an Infantry Battalion in the North East and on the Line of Control in J&K, an RR Sector in South Kashmir and an Infantry Division again on the Line of Control in J&K. He was the Corps Commander of prestigious 15 Corps in his last command tenure."
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