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Indian Army and Air Force To Be Announced Soon? Who Are Most Likely Contenders?

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and IAF top boss Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha will both superannuate on December 31.

Even as tensions continue to mount on the border, Indian Army and the Air Force await a change in the top brass as their chiefs superannuate by the year-end. However, suspense about their successors continues as official notifications from the government are delayed.

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh and IAF top boss Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha will both superannuate on December 31. According to the normal practice, the next Chief is announced three months in advance. The seniormost Army Commander in the service is usually appointed the chief and the announcement is only a formality.

In the Army, the present Eastern Army Commander Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi is the seniormost and, by convention, is expected to be the next chief. Incidentally, the last three chiefs have been Eastern Army Commanders and it will be a continuation of the tradition if Lt. Gen. Bakshi is confirmed.

He would, in the event, also be the first officer from the armoured corps to head the service and this has caused some rumblings within the Infantry, the largest constituent of the Army. “Infantry is not happy with an armoured corps officer becoming the chief,” one officer observed.

Change in IAF

In the IAF, the present Vice Chief Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, also a fighter pilot like his predecessor, is slated to take over from Air Chief Marshal Raha.