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New army chief takes over on Wednesday

Lieutenant General Ved Prakash Malik takes over as the 19th army chief on Wednesday.

With rich experience in handling counter-insurgency operations, the officer has had the distinction of working in the military operation and operational logistics directorates.

Lieutenant General Malik, colonel of the Sikh Light Infantry into which he was commissioned in 1959, succeeds General Shankar Roychowdhury who retired after 40 years of service on Tuesday.

Lieutenant General Malik, who assumed the office of vice-chief on August 30 last year, has a distinguished record of professional achievements to his credit having worked in a variety of command, staff and instructional appointments.

He commanded the 8 Mountain Division in active counter-insurgency operations in Nagaland and Manipur and later took the entire division to Jammu and Kashmir and conducted the operations in the valley from December 1989 to May 1991.

During his command of a corps in Punjab, which is responsible for the Indo-Pak border in Punjab and Rajasthan, insurgency could be successfully controlled by the government with army assistance. In July 1991, he took over as GOC-in-C of southern command.

He served as deputy director general of military operations from March 1987 to June 1989 and as additional director (general operational logistics) at the army headquarters from 1991 to 1992.

Born on November 1, 1939, in Dera Ismail Khan in the north west frontier province of Pakistan, he joined the National Defence Academy in July 1955.

After almost three eventful years, General Roychowdhury retired on Tuesday feeling proud and satisfied at being the chief of what he referred to as the ''best fighting machine in the world''.


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