A week before he retires as the Chief of the Army Staff, General VK Singh has sent a showcause notice to the man who is currently in line to head the Army in 2014.
General Singh has written to Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag about alleged lapses in command during a failed intelligence operation conducted in Assam in December. Lt General Suhag heads the Dimapur-based 3 Corps, which is under the Eastern Army Command. Lt General Bikram Singh, who heads the Eastern Army Command, will become the new Army Chief at the end of May. So far, there is no word on who will replace him after his promotion. Lt General Suhag’s elevation is endangered by the showcause notice issued to him – he has been accused of “abdicating responsibility” and behaving in “a most unprofessional and lackadaisical manner.” He has a week to reply.
That delay in selecting a Commander, sources say, points to the worrying consequences of tension between the Army headquarters and the Defence Ministry. At least six top appointments in the Army remain undecided. There is no clarity on which officers will heading two of the Army’s crucial commands – the Eastern Command headquartered at Kolkata and the Chandimandir (Chandigarh)-based Western Command.
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The current Western Army Commander Shankar Ghosh retires along with General VK Singh on May 31, but his successor is not yet known since the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet is yet to clear the name of Lieutenant General Sanjiv Chachra, currently the Military Secretary at the Army HQ.
Three Corps Commanders – of 14 Corps based at Leh, 15 Corps based at Srinagar and 9 Corps headquartered at Yol – have completed their stipulated tenure as head of the formation but their replacements are yet to be named. Lieutenant General Ata Hasnain, who has had a very successful and busy tenure in the Kashmir Valley is tipped to be the next Military Secretary. Lieutenant General Ravi Dastane, heading the Leh-based 14 Corps is likely to come to Delhi as Deputy Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, a tri-services organisation.