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9 interesting facts about India's new Army Chief

Last updated on: July 31, 2014 16:47 IST

9 interesting facts about India's new Army chief

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Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, whose appointment as army chief had kicked up a row, on Thursday took 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 United Progressive Alliance government ignoring protests from his predecessor Gen V K Singh and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

59-year-old Lt Gen Suhag was previously 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.

The 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.

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Image: Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag
Photographs: Courtesy: Indian Army

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1. A third generation soldier

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Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag was born in a Jat family in Bishan village in Haryana's Jhajjar district. He is a third generation soldier in his family.

His father Ram Phal Suhag, 84, retired as a Subedar Major from 18-Cavalary regiment.

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Image: Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag inspecting a guard of honour
Photographs: Courtesy: Indian Army

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2. Served as commander during IPKF's operation in Sri Lanka

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Lt Gen Singh served as served as a company commander during Indian Peace Keeping Force’s Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1990. He has won many gallantry awards for his role in the mission.

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Image: IPKF forces in action in Sri Lanka


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3. The second Gurkha Rifles officer to become Army Chief

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Lt Gen Singh is the second officer from the Gorkha Rifles to become the army chief, after the late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.

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Image: Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw


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4. Instructed at the Indian Military Academy

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Lt General Singh, an alumnus of Sainik School in Chittorgarh, joined the National Defence Academy in 1970 and was commissioned into the 4th battalion of the 5 Gorkha Rifles in June 1974.

He was also an instructor at the Indian Military Academy.

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5. Commanded 53 Infantry Brigade, 8 Mountain Division

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Lt General Singh has commanded the 53 Infantry Brigade which was involved in counter-insurgency operations in the Kashmir Valley from July 2003 to March 2005, and the 8 Mountain Division in Kargil from October 2007 to December 2008.

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Photographs: Reuters

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6. Completed various national, international military courses

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Lt General Singh has completed various Indian and foreign courses including Long Defence Management Course at College of Defence Management in 1997-98, National Defence College in 2006, Executive Course in USA in 2005 and Senior Mission Leaders Course at the United Nations in Kenya in 2007.

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Photographs: Courtesy: Indian Army

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7. Inspector General of the Special Frontier Forces

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He was Inspector General of the Special Frontier Forces, the Tibetan Army in Chakrata (Uttarakhand).

The SFF was created on November 14, 1962, near the end of the Indo-China War. The Cabinet Secretariat had ordered the raising of an elite guerrilla force composed mainly of Tibetan refugees. Its main goal was to conduct covert operations behind Chinese lines in the event of another Indo-China war.

Based in Chakrata, Uttarakhand, the force was put under the direct supervision of the Intelligence Bureau, and later, the Research and Analysis Wing, India's external intelligence agency

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Photographs: Courtesy: Indian Army

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8. A fitness freak

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Lt General Singh is a fitness freak, and is known to walk 10 kms every day. His other hobbies include horse-riding and golf.

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Image: Lt General Singh felicitating a young soldier for his bravery
Photographs: Courtesy: Indian Army
Tags: Singh

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9. Married to Namita Suhag

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Lt General Singh is married to Namita Suhag, a political science graduate from Delhi University.


Image: Lt General Singh with his wife Namita Suhag
Photographs: Courtesy: Facebook

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