Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) named new Chief of Defence Staff

Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) named new Chief of Defence Staff

The Centre on Wednesday announced the appointment of Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) as the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the top military post which aims to bring convergence in the functioning of Army, Navy and Air Force and bolster the country’s overall military prowess. In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said the retired Lt General will also function as Secretary to Government of India, Department of Military Affairs.

The appointment came nine months after the country’s first CDS General Bipin Rawat was killed in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district. Lt Gen Chauhan, 61, had retired as Eastern Command Chief in May 2021 and was serving as the Military Advisor to the National Security Council.

Counter-insurgency experience

In a career spanning over nearly 40 years, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan had held several command, staff and instrumental appointments and had extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir and the northeast, the statement read.

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Born on May 18, 1961, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan was commissioned into the 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1981. An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, he commanded an Infantry Division in the Baramula sector in the Northern Command in the rank of Major General.

The retirement

He later commanded a corps in the northeast and subsequently became the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command from September 2019 and held the charge until his retirement from the service on May 31, 2021.

The officer also tenanted important staff appointments, including the charge of Director General of Military Operations. He had also served as a United Nations mission to Angola. He superannuated from the Indian Army on May 31, 2021.

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Even after his retirement from the Army, he continued to contribute to national security and strategic matters. For his distinguished and illustrious service in the Army, Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal.

Change in rules

Since this is the first time that a retired officer has been appointed to the position, the government issued a gazette notification to announce the change in rules for the appointment. The post had been vacant since December 8 last year after the death of General Bipin Rawat at the age of 63.

General Rawat, who had been India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, and his wife were killed after a military chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu, killing 13 on board. The only survivor, an Air Force Group Captain, died of severe burns later.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hand-picked General Rawat, a decorated general, as CDS in late 2019 with a mission to reorganise India’s army, air force and navy into a single, modern force with joint theatre commands. He took charge in January 2020.

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