General Manoj Pande on Saturday took charge as the 29th Chief of the Army Staff after incumbent Gen MM Naravane retired from service. Gen Pande, who was serving as the vice-chief, became the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to helm the force.
Before taking charge as vice-chief of the Army, Gen Pande was heading the Eastern Army Command, tasked with guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors. Gen Pande took charge of the Army at a time India is facing myriad security challenges, including along the borders with China and Pakistan.
As the Army chief, he will also have to coordinate with the Navy and the Indian Air Force on the government’s plan to roll out theatre commands. The theaterisation plan was being implemented by India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat, who died in a helicopter crash in December last year. The government is yet to appoint Gen Rawat’s successor.
BECAME VICE CHIEF IN FEB
Gen Pande took charge as the new Vice Chief of the Indian Army, succeeding Lt Gen CP Mohanty, in February 2022. He was serving as the Eastern Army Commander before assuming the role.
Gen Manoj Pande, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, was commissioned in December 1982 in the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers).
He has commanded 117 Engineer Regiment during Operation PARAKRAM in the sensitive Pallanwala Sector of Jammu and Kashmir, along the Line of Control. Pande is a graduate of Staff College, Camberley (United Kingdom) and attended the Higher Command (HC) and National Defence College (NDC) Courses.
In his 39-year distinguished military career, he has tenanted important and challenging command and staff appointments in different operational environments. It includes command of an Engineer Brigade in the Western Theatre as part of Strike Corps; an Infantry Brigade along Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, a Mountain Division in the High Altitude Area of Western Ladakh and command of a Corps deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and in Counter Insurgency Operations area of Eastern Command.
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 a Chief Engineer in the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. He has also tenanted the appointments of 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.
He was the Commander-in-Chief Andaman & Nicobar Command (CINCAN) from June 2020 to May 2021 and the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command from June 2021 to January 2022. He took over as the Vice Chief of Army Staff on February 1, 2022.
For his illustrious service he has been conferred with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, the Chief of Army Staff Commendation and twice with GOC-in-C Commendation. He is also the Colonel Commandant, The Bombay Sappers.