Lt. Gen. Deepak Kapoor next Indian Army chief


New Delhi : Going by the time-tested principle of seniority, Lt. Gen. Deepak Kapoor, the current vice chief of army staff, was Thursday named the new Indian Army chief of staff succeeding Gen. J.J. Singh who retires Sep 30.

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The decision to abide by the principle of seniority was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Appointments (CCA) though there had been reports that some officers had been vying for the top post.

Gen. Kapoor, 59, is the most senior officer in the Indian Army ahead of western army commander Lt. Gen. Daljit Singh and General Officer Commanding (southern command) Lt. Gen. Aditya Singh.

The CCA had also taken such a view in the appointment of Indian Air Force chief Air Marshal Fali Major.

The seniority criterion was given priority even though Fali Major was a helicopter pilot and the convention had been to appoint an officer who has flown a fighter aircraft.

He had succeeded Air Marshal Tyagi April 1.

Lt. Gen. Kapoor, who is married to Kirti Kapoor and has a son and a daughter, had been in line for the top job having been appointed vice chief of army staff earlier this year.

Kapoor was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery June 11, 1967. An alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he has had a career of 40 years in the service during which he worked in a variety of command, staff and instructional positions.

He took active part in the 1971 operations in Bangladesh and served as the chief operations officer of the UN Peacekeeping Mission that was deployed in Somalia during 1994-95.

Kapoor was in charge of the largest and the most sensitive command of the Indian Army, the Northern Command, from Sep 5, 2005 to Dec 31, 2006.

He was awarded the Param Vishist Seva Medal in January this year.

During his service as a brigade commander, deployed on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, Gen Kapoor was awarded the Sena Medal for devotion to duty in January 1998. He commanded one of the most prestigious Divisions of the Indian Army – the RAM Division.

He has been the chief of staff of 4 Corps in the North East, fighting insurgency in Assam. Thereafter he commanded 33 Corps, deployed on the India-China border. For his excellent command of the Corps, he was awarded Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in January 2006.

On promotion as army commander, he headed the Army Training Command at Shimla.

With the retirement of Gen. J.J. Singh, the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff held by him would go to naval chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who would take charge Sep 30.