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SOURCE: Tribune News Service

The year 2021 will be a significant one for the Army as it will witness major changes at the top with five of its commanders superannuating over the next 10 months. In all, there are eight Army Commander-level posts, including the two held by the Vice Chief and the Shimla-based training command.

The first superannuation is slated for January 31 when the Vice Chief of the Army Staff, Lt Gen SK Saini, retires. The Central Army Commander, Lt Gen IS Ghuman, and South Western Army Commander Lt Gen AS Kler will retire the same day on March 31. Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen AS Chauhan superannuates on May 31 while the last retirement will be of Western Army Commander Lt Gen RP Singh on October 31.

Several senior officers are in the race for these posts and one of those promoted could even be the next Army Chief when incumbent Gen MM Naravane’s tenure ends in April 2022. Holding the position of a Commander is one of the requisites to become the Army Chief. While the Army Chief retires at 62, a Lt General-rank Army Commander superannuates two years early.

Besides merit, the qualifying criteria for promotion as Army Commander is having a minimum 18 months of residual service. If the government goes by the seniority principle, the new Army Commanders could be a mix of Infantry and Armoured Corps officers.