Lt-Gen Mukund Naravane replaces Lt-Gen Abhay Krishna as head of Eastern Command; latter shifted to Central Command
Orders have been signed by the defence ministry to shift Mukund Naravane to Kolkata to head the Eastern Command, while the current Eastern Army Commander Abhay Krishna is being posted to the Central Command, replacing BS Negi.
In a move that could provide an indication as to who would succeed General Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane was shifted out as the head of the Shimla-based Army Training Command and posted as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the operationally significant Eastern Command in Kolkata. Lt Gen Naravane had taken charge of Army Training Command (ARTRAC) in December 2017.
However, a formal decision on General Rawat's successor will be taken by the government only months before he retires.
As per a report from The Economic Times, orders have been signed by the defence ministry to shift Lt Gen Naravane to Kolkata allowing him to gain the necessary operational experience to have a shot at the top post of army chief next year.
The Eastern Command looks over Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh towards the north apart from Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya in the North East, as well as Assam and West Bengal.
Additionally, the current Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Abhay Krishna is being posted to the Central Command, replacing Lt Gen BS Negi. The area of Central Command covers the seven states of Uttranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. It is also home to 18 Regimental Centres as well as a large number of logistic and training establishments, according to the Indian Army website. It is also responsible for guarding a big chunk of India's border with China along the McMahon Line.
"The shifting around of posts is taking place as two senior officers – the head of the Central Command and the Southern Command – are retiring at the end of this month. Lt Gens Sanjiv Chopra and PS Rajeshwar are being elevated to the position of Army Commanders to take up the vacant positions in the South and at the training command," The Economic Times reported.
Lt Gen Naravane was commissioned into the 7th Battalion Sikh Light Infantry in June 1980. An alumnus of the National Defence Academy in Pune and the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, he has tenanted critical command and staff appointments in peace, field and active Counter Insurgency environment both in the North East and in Jammu and Kashmir. The officer also commanded a Rashtriya Rifles Battalion in Jammu and Kashmir, an Infantry Brigade, Inspector General Assam Rifles (North) in the North East and a Strike Corps of the Indian Army. He also served as an instructor at the Army War College and was the Indian Defence Attache to Myanmar. Lt Gen Naravane also holds a Masters degree in Defence Studies from Chennai University and has acquired MPhil in Defence and Management Studies from DAVV, Indore.
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