Lt Gen. Rawat and Air Marshal Dhanoa, presently the Vice Chiefs of their respective services, will take over on December 31, when incumbents Gen. Dalbir Singh and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha demit office on retirement from service. It, however, stuck to the practice in elevating vice chief air marshal BS Dhanoa – a Kargil war veteran – as the next head of the Indian Air Force. The two new chiefs – both 1978 batch officers – will take charge on December 31.
Lt Gen Bipin Rawat and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa
Lt Gen Rawat, whose appointment brought to an end the guessing game borne out of the government’s delay in announcing the new Army chief, was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, from IMA Dehradun, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’.
He has vast experience in high-altitude warfare and counter-insurgency operations. He commanded an Infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern sector, a Rashtriya Rifles sector and an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley.
Lt Gen Rawat, an infantry soldier, superseded senior most army commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who headed the Eastern Command and was next in line to be the army chief, besides Southern Command Chief P M Hariz. He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the North-East. He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and connect with civil society.
His experience as GOC-in-C Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services, the sources said.