New Commanders for Eastern Command and Andaman and Nicobar Command

Lt Gen. Manoj Pande (left) and Lt Gen. Ajai Singh

New Delhi: As the border tension with China continues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the crucial Eastern Command is getting a new commander, with Lt Gen Ajai Singh taking over the charge of Andaman and Nicobar Command – country’s only tri-service command from Lt Gen. Manoj Pande on June 01. Lt Gen. Pande will take the charge from Lt Gen. Anil Chauhan who retired as the Eastern Commander May 31. He is also set to become the senior most officer in the force when Army Chief Gen. M.M. Naravane retires next year.

Lt Gen. Chauhan has led the Army’s response in the East against China’s overall aggression along the LAC. Prior to taking over as the Eastern Army Commander in April 2020, he was the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) and one of the main architects of ‘Operation Sunrise’ under which both Myanmar and Indian armies carried out coordinated action against insurgent groups operating near the border between two countries.

While the Eastern command looks after the critical LAC with China and borders with Myanmar in the East besides anti-insurgency operations in the North-East, the Andaman and Nicobar Command is a harbinger of the larger similarly planned theaterisation of the Army, Navy and Air Force capabilities.

The ANC is in the midst of a massive upgrade of infrastructure, both in terms of military and civil. It is also the Command which is playing a strategic role in keeping an eye on Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean Region.

Lt Gen. Pande goes to the Eastern Command as a veteran of the region with experience of having worked there in various capacities, including as the commander of the Tezpur-based 4 Corps that looks after the LAC and counter-insurgency operations. He has also served as brigade general staff (Operations) at the Eastern Command Headquarters. He has also been brigade major of a Mountain Brigade in the North-East, besides being posted along the LAC and in counter-insurgency operations. His other commands include the 117 Engineer Regiment during Operation Parakram in the Pallanwala Sector of Jammu and Kashmir, along the Line of Control.

Lt Gen. Ajai Singh is a fifth generation Army as well as Cavalry/Armoured Corps officer, with family service of over 162 years since 13 September 13, 1858.