Lt General Praveen Bakshi put an end to the speculation regarding his resignation on Saturday as his junior Lt General Bipin Rawat took charge as the new Army chief. Lt Gen Bakshi made it clear that he will continue to head the Eastern Command headquartered in Kolkata.
“I convey my best wishes and full support of Eastern Command to Gen Bipin Rawat on having taken over as the Chief of Army Staff,” he said.
General Rawat today took over as the 27th chief of the 1.3 million strong Indian Army succeeding Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who retired after 42 years of service.
Gen Rawat superseded two senior most Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P M Hariz. Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa also took charge as the 25th Air Force Chief replacing Anup Raha. Lt Gen Bakshi, who heads the Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Command,
In a statement, the Eastern Command also said that Lt Gen Bakshi requested that speculation and trolling in media and social media should stop and everyone should focus on contributing their best to the betterment of the army and the nation.
There is still a buzz that Lt Gen Bakshi will be accommodated and could be given the new post of Chief of Defence Staff.
Gen Suhag, who superannuated on Saturday said the army is prepared to meet any challenge as he thanked the government for “providing a free hand” and implementing the One Rank One Pension scheme.
He said that infiltration bids had increased during the year and the number of terrorists killed was nearly double the previous year.
The General said the army focused on operational preparedness during his tenure.
Suhag said that when he had taken over he had asserted the response of the army to any action against our interest would be immediate, adequate and intense. “Indian Army has done that in the last two-and-a-half years,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Gen Suhag and Air Chief Marshal Raha paid tributes at Amar Jawan Jyoti and inspected the guard of honour.
The new IAF chief, Air Marshal Dhanoa, had developed the country’s aerial targeting philosophy against potential adversaries and transformed the concept of air operations of the air force into contemporary war fighting practices.
He has mainly flown Kiran and MiG-21 aircraft though he has the experience of flying the entire spectrum of fighter aircraft from Jaguar to state-of-the-art MiG-29 and Su-30 MKI.