Day after the army headquarters New Delhi appointed lieutenant general VJK Dhillon as the new general officer commanding (GoC) of Srinagar-based 15 corps, the incumbent GoC lieutenant general A K Bhatt is joining as the Military Secretary—the top post in army headquarters New Delhi.
The GoC Bhat took over the reins of army's 15 Corps in February 2018 and he will be demitting the office after completing the one-year tenure in February 2019. Bhat's new posting assumes significance given the record number of anti-militancy operations in 2018 that resulted in the killing of 250 militants including top commanders of various militant outfits—Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Ansaar Gazwatul Hind. The number of militants killed in 2018 was highest ever in a decade in Kashmir.
"It was under the leadership of GoC Bhat that army across Kashmir followed the Ramzan ceasefire in true letter and spirit. Under his leadership, 250 militants were killed while five were apprehended alive," a source in the army said. The union home minister Rajnath Singh had announced suspension of operations in Kashmir on May 16 last year in view of holy month of Ramzan. However, the decision was rolled back in a review meeting on June 17.
He said that Military Secretary is a senior position in the army headquarters and the post is a held by a senior officer of the lieutenant general rank. "The MS controls appointments of officers above the rank of lieutenant colonels except the Medical Corps," the source said. He said that the MS is also responsible for promotions, postings, tenures and the grant of honorary ranks in the Army. "The MS is one of six Principal Staff Officers of the Army Chief," the source said.
Meanwhile, Greater Kashmir clarifies that the sentence "GoC Bhat has been recalled to Delhi army headquarters" was mentioned inadvertently in the story published in the newspaper on Tuesday.