Defence Ministry announced Lt General Bipin Rawat as the new Army Chief

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Bipin Rawat and Birender Singh Dhanoa

In a surprise move, the government on Saturday announced Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as India’s next army chief and Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa will be the next Indian Air Force (IAF) chief.

Defence Ministry tweeted that The next Army Chief will be Lt Gen Bipin Rawat with effect from the afternoon of December 31.

Air Marshal BS Dhanoa will take over as IAF chief with effect from afternoon of 31 December, the Defence Ministry said in a tweet.

A qualified fighter pilot and a Kargil-war veteran, 59-year-old Air Marshal Dhanoa is expected to have a tenure of about three years as the chief of Air Staff.

Lieutenant General Rawat is currently the Vice Chief of the Army. He was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, from Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’.

In promoting Rawat, the claims of Eastern Army commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, the senior-most general on the day present army chief Dalbir Singh retires, and Southern Army commander Lt Gen PM Hariz, were ignored.

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