Retired General Vijay Kumar Singh — a former four-star general in the Indian Army — who has served as the Minister of State for External Affairs in the NDA-led Government of India formed in 2014, was made the Minister of State in the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways.
He also briefly served as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of the North-Eastern Region in the government, a portfolio that was later assumed by Jitendra Singh.
During his military career, the ex-serviceman served as the 24th Chief of the Army Staff from 2010 to 2012. He also became the first serving Indian military Chief of Staff to take the Government of India to court, with regard to a dispute over his date of birth and subsequent retirement.
However, after his retirement, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014 and was elected as the Member of Parliament of the Lok Sabha in the 2014 general election, from the Ghaziabad constituency of Uttar Pradesh, having defeated Raj Babbar of the Indian National Congress (INC) by a margin of 5, 67,260 votes. — a seat from which he was re-elected in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.
Born in Bapora village of the Bhiwani district in Haryana, Singh comes from an army family and was an alumnus of the National Defence Academy. He was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion of the Rajput Regiment (Kali Chindi) on 14 June 1970 and he commanded the unit when it was positioned along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.
Singh is experienced in both counter-insurgency and high-altitude operations. He also saw action as a young Lieutenant in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 while serving as an intelligence officer of the 2nd battalion of the Rajputana Regiment.
He became the 24th Chief of Army Staff on 31 March 2010, and was the first commando to achieve that position. He withdrew the writ in February 2012 when, according to The Hindu, the Supreme Court of India "refused to intervene". The Court noted that there was no dispute regarding his actual date of birth and that the matter being contested was regarding how that had been recorded. It ruled that Singh had on three occasions accepted the misrecorded date.
Singh retired as Chief of Army Staff on 31 May 2012 and was succeeded by General Bikram Singh. During his tenure, Singh was praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for leading the 'Operation Raahat', a rescue mission to evacuate Indian citizens and other foreign nationals from Yemen during 2015 Yemeni Crisis.
During his service as the COAS, Singh was also appointed Honorary Aide-De-Camp to the President of India. He was the Colonel of The Rajput Regiment to which he belonged and also Honorary Colonel of The Brigade of Guards, by virtue of being the Army Chief.
On 11 March 2011, Singh was inducted into the United States Army War College (Class of 2001 graduate) International Fellows Hall of Fame. He is the 33rd International Fellow and the first Indian Armed Forces officer to be inducted. The army veteran also has several military award and recognition to his name including the Param Vishisht Seva Medal and the Yudh Seva Medal.
Updated Date: May 31, 2019 20:51:29 IST