Dalbir Singh Suhag takes over as new army chief on Thursday

New Delhi, Jul 30 : Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, whose appointment as army chief had kicked up a row, will tomorrow take over as the next head of the 1.3 million strong force succeeding Gen Bikram Singh who is retiring. Suhag was designated as army chief in May by the outgoing UPA government ignoring protests from his predecessor Gen V K Singh and BJP. 59-year-old Lt Gen Suhag, a Gurkha officer who had participated in the 1987 Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operation in Sri Lanka, is currently the Vice Chief of Army Staff.

He will have a tenure of 30 months as the 26th Chief of the armed forces. Suhag was made the Vice Chief of Army Staff in December last year. Earlier, he had taken over as the Eastern Army Commander on June 16, 2012. He was at the centre of a controversy triggered by ?Discipline and Vigilance? ban imposed on him by the then army chief Gen V K Singh in connection with an intelligence operation in Assam earlier.

The ban on Suhag, the then 2 Corps Commander, was lifted soon after Gen Bikram Singh took over in May, 2012. BJP had questioned the “hurry” in making the appointment and insisted that the matter be left to the next government. However, soon after the NDA government took over, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the new dispensation will continue with the appointment made during UPA rule.