The Centre on Saturday announced the appointment of Lieutenant General Bikram Singh as the next army chief from May 31, to succeed General V K Singh.
Lieutenant General Singh, the eastern army commander, will head the 13-lakh strong force and have tenure of just over two years, till August 2014.
"Lieutenant General Singh has been designated as the next chief of army staff, in the rank of general, with effect from the afternoon of May 31, 2012," defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.
"He will succeed the present COAS General V K Singh, who retires from service on May 31," he added.
As per the normal practice, the appointment of chiefs of defence services is announced 60 days in advance but in this case, the government made the announcement 90 days in advance.
Lieutenant General Bikram Singh was the senior most among the present army commanders but his appointment as the chief of army staff was doubtful as General V K Singh was fighting out a legal battle over his date of birth, to extend his tenure till April next year.
There had been questions over General Bikram Singh in connection with an alleged fake encounter in Kashmir, but the government went ahead to appoint him as the army chief.
General V K Singh, who had two dates of birth in his official records, had dragged the government to the Supreme Court, contending that he was born on May 10, 1951 and not a year later.
But the top court refused to accept his contention, holding that he had taken promotions on the basis of May 10, 1950 as his date of birth and could not "resile" on his commitment accepting that date.
Lieutenant General Bikram Singh was commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment on March 31, 1972 and has served in various key formations during his 40-year career.
He has also commanded the Srinagar-based 15 Corps during militancy.
He has also served as the deputy force commander of a multi-nation United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Congo and as an UN Observer in Nicaragua and El Salvador during the early 90s.
Lieutenant General Bikram Singh had passed out with distinction from the Defence Services Staff College, the Army War College and the United States Army War College, Pennsylvania.
He is married to Surjeet Kaur and the couple has two sons.