With the Defence Ministry recommending his name to the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) for approval, the Congress led UPA government may soon name Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Army Chief.
Media reports said on Monday that a formal announcement on Lt Gen Suhag, who took over as the Vice-Chief of the Army Staff in January this year, is likely to be made this week.
The development comes at a time when the main opposition party, BJP and former Army chief General VK Singh have urged the Centre not to name the new chief in the fag-end of its tenure.
In the even of the ACC clearing his name, Suhag will become the first Jat to take on the Army’s leadership.
Several attempts have been made in past to scuttle Suhag’s chances of becoming Army chief, however, the Centre has found no merit in the allegations against him.
The then Army chief Gen V K Singh had imposed a discipline and vigilance promotion ban on him when he was heading the 3 Corps in Dimapur.
V K Singh had charged Suhag with “abdicating responsibility” in “a most unprofessional and lackadaisical manner” while dealing with a botched operation by an intelligence and surveillance unit under him.
The ban was revoked by Gen Bikram Singh, when he took over as the Army chief, paving the way for Suhag’s elevation as the Eastern Army Commander in June, 2012. Gen Suhag, who was commissioned in the Gorkha Rifles in 1974, has a long experience in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and North East and had participated in IPKF operation in Sri Lanka.
Gen Suhag has had a tenure as a company commander in Operation Pawan, which was launched by Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka.
He raised and commanded 33 RR in Nagaland and later led 53 Infantry Brigade, which was involved in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir.
He has also headed 8 Mountain Division in J&K, which was deployed on the LoC in a high altitude Area from Oct 2007 to Dec 2008.
The incumbent chief Gen Bikram Singh’s tenure expires on July 31.