NEW DELHI: The Indian Army is set to get its first chief from the Sappers (Corps of Engineers), with Lt Gen MK Pande being confirmed on Monday as the next in command.
The Ministry of Defence said on Monday, “The government has appointed Lt Gen Manoj C Pande, presently Vice Chief of the Army Staff, as the next Chief of the Army Staff with effect from the afternoon of April 30, 2022.”
Born on May 6, 1962, Lt Gen Manoj C Pande was commissioned on December 24, 1982 in the Corps of Engineers (Bombay Sappers) of the Indian Army.
General MM Naravane #COAS & All Ranks of #IndianArmy congratulate Lieutenant General Manoj Pande #VCOAS on being appointed as the 29th Chief of the Army Staff #COAS of the #IndianArmy. Lt Gen Manoj Pande will assume the appointment of #COAS on 01 May 2022.#InStrideWithTheFuture pic.twitter.com/fiUpc29U2A— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) April 18, 2022
As reported earlier, in reply to a question by The New Indian Express, Lt Gen MK Pande had said, “In terms of our larger guidance, strategic guidance in terms of dealing with situation on the LAC is to respect the mutually agreed protocols and agreements, and that has been our effort, notwithstanding what has been the action or response from the other side. Consequent to what happened and what we need to do in the future is something I reckon is being looked at a higher level.”
Lt Gen Manoj Pande, an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, was commissioned in December 1982 in the Corps of Engineers (Bombay Sappers).
In his distinguished 39-year military career, he held important and challenging command and staff appointments in different operational environments. His Line of Control exposure includes the command of 117 Engineer Regiment during Operation Parakram in the sensitive Pallanwala Sector of Jammu and Kashmir. He commanded an Engineer Brigade in the Western Theatre, as part of the Strike Corps, an Infantry Brigade along the Line of Control.
He has also held tenures at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in recent years, starting with the command of a mountain division in the high altitude area of Western Ladakh, command of a corps deployed along the LAC and in counter insurgency operations area of the Eastern Command.
Post this, he went for the tri-service experience as the General Officer Commander in Chief (GoC-in-C) of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN) which is the only tri-service operational command. From there, he was promoted as the GoC-in-C of the Eastern Army Command.
He was CINCAN from June 2020 to May 2021 and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command from June 2021 to January 2022.
His staff exposures include Brigade Major of a Mountain Brigade in the North East, Assistant Military Secretary (AMS) in Military Secretary’s Branch, Colonel Q of a Mountain Division in High Altitude Area and Brigadier General Staff (Operations) at Headquarters Eastern Command.
He has served as Chief Engineer in the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. He has also been posted as Additional Director General in the Military Operations Directorate at Army Headquarters, Chief of Staff Headquarters Southern Command and Director General Discipline Ceremonial & Welfare at the Army Headquarters.
Lt Gen Pande is a graduate of Staff College, Camberley (United Kingdom) and attended the Higher Command (HC) and National Defence College (NDC) Courses.
He is also the Colonel Commandant, Bombay Sappers. There are three groups of Sappers — Bombay, Madras and Bengal Engineering Group. Sappers are combat support arms providing mobility for their own forces and denying mobility for enemy forces.
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