We often wonder about the lifestyle of the chiefs of the Indian Armed Forces and about their journey to reach the zenith. Let’s get to know a little about the chiefs of our Forces.
General Bipin Rawat, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM
He was born in Pauri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand. His Family served the nation through the defence forces for generations. His Father Laxman Singh Rawat retired from the Indian Army as Lieutenant General.
He has a bright and glorious academic graph. He has studied at:
- Cambrian Hall School, Dehradun,
- St Edward’s School, Shimla
- Indian Military Academy, Dehradun (At IMA he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’)
- 2nd graduation from the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington
- Higher Command Course from Fort Leavenworth, USA.
- A MPhil in Defence Studies from Madras University,
- Diploma in Management
- Diploma in Computer Studies.
- PhD from Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut for his research on military-media strategic studies.
He joined the 5th battalion of 11 Gorkha Rifles on 16 December 1978, the same unit as his father. He has lots of experience in high altitude warfare and spent ten years conducting counter insurgency operations. He has commanded several batallions before becoming the chief of the Indian Army. To name a few:
- A company in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir,
- An infantry battalion in the Eastern sector along the Line of Actual Control at Kibithu,
- 5 Sector of Rashtriya Rifles (Sopore) as brigade commander,
- 19 Infantry Division (Uri),
- III Corps (Dimapur)
- General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-C) Southern Command (Pune).
During his career span of 37 years, he has been awarded for gallantry and distinguished service with several awards.
On 17 December 2016, the Government of India designated him as the 27th Chief of the Army Staff
He has played a significant role in the following:
1987 Sino-Indian skirmish
During the 1987 face off in the Sumdorong Chu valley, Rawat’s battalion was deployed against the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
UN Mission in Congo
While commanding MONUSCO (a Multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Rawat had a truly outstanding tour. Within two weeks of deployment in the DRC, the Brigade faced a major offensive in the east which threatened not only the regional capital of North Kivu, Goma, but stability across the country as a whole. The situation demanded a rapid response and North Kivu Brigade was reinforced, where it was responsible for over 7,000 men and women, representing nearly half of the total MONUSCO force. His personal leadership, courage and experience were pivotal to the success that the Brigade achieved. Goma never fell, the East stabilized and the main armed group was motivated to the negotiating table and has since been integrated into the FARDC.
2015 Myanmar strikes
In June 2015, eighteen Indian soldiers were killed in an ambush by militants belonging to the United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) in Manipur. The Indian Army responded with cross-border strikes in which units of the 21st battalion of the Parachute Regiment struck an NSCN-K base in Myanmar. 21 Para was under the operational control of the Dimapur-based III Corps, which was then commanded by Rawat.
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, VM, ADC
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa was born in Gharuan village in SAS Nagar, Punjab. His father Sarayan Singh was an IAS officer. His grandfather Capt Sant Singh had fought in World War II as a captain of the British Indian Army. He is married to Mrs. Kamalpreet and they have one son Jasman who is a law graduate.
He is an alumnus of the Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun and was graduated from National Defence Academy, Pune. He has also attended a staff course in Defence Services Staff College, Wellington in 1992.
The Air Chief Marshal has mainly flown the Kiran and MiG-21 aircraft with flying experience across the entire spectrum of fighter aircraft from the Jaguar to the state of the art MiG-29 & Su-30 MKi. He is a Qualified Cat ‘A’ Flying Instructor and has more than 3000 hours of fighter flying under his belt with an immaculate record of flight safety throughout his distinguished career as a field commander.
The Air Chief Marshal has many feathers in his hat. As Commanding Officer of a front line ground attack fighter squadron, he led the IAF punch during the ‘Limited War’ against Pakistan to evict the enemy from their ‘dug in’ defences in the icy heights of Kargil region in 1999. Under his leadership the squadron devised innovative methods of night bombing at high altitudes which had never been attempted before. His squadron was adjudged the best fighter squadron of HQ WAC.
He was assigned the role of the Air Chief Marshall on 31 December 2016 after Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha retired. Singh is the 25th CAS.
The Air Chief Marshal has held a number of significant staff appointments at operational Commands, Joint Training Establishments and Air Headquarters.
- He has been Director Targeting Cell and
- Director Fighter Operations,
- Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air HQ and
- Senior Air Staff Officer of Eastern and Western Air Commands.
- The Air Chief has commanded the South Western Air Command.
- For his experience and professional excellence, he was handpicked to establish an ‘IAF Training Team’ abroad.
The Air Chief Marshal is also instrumental in developing the aerial targeting philosophy against the potential adversaries and transformed the concept of Air operations of the Indian Air Force to contemporary war fighting practices of Air Power. He is an avid reader and writer of issues pertaining to air power and joint operations.
Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC
Admiral Sunil Lanba was born on 17 July 1957 and hails from Palwal district, Haryana. He attended
- Mayo College, Ajmer;
- National Defense Academy, Pune;
- Defense Services Staff College, Wellington;
- College of Defence Management, Secunderabad and
- Royal College of Defense Studies, London and is a post-graduate in Defense and Management studies.
Admiral Lanba’s career has been enriched with his vast experience at sea, training, operational and tri-services tour of duty both within India and with international navies.
He assumed the office on 31 May 2016 as the 23rd Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy after Admiral RK Dhowan and will hold office till May 2019. He is also the Chairman of the chiefs of staff committee (CoSC).
Lanba was commissioned into the Indian Navy as an officer on 1 January 1978 into the Executive Branch of Indian Navy.
He has also held numerous training positions like
- training officer at the National Defence Academy;
- Directing Staff at the College of Defence Management;
- Commandant of the National Defence College and
- Flag Officer Sea Training organisation at the Local Workup Team (West), Western Naval Command.