New Delhi: Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (Retd), a former eastern Army commander and Director General of Military Operations, was on Wednesday appointed as India's new Chief of Defence Staff, more than nine months after the post fell vacant following the death of Gen Bipin Rawat.
Sixty-one-year-old Chauhan will also function as secretary of the Department of Military Affairs, with effect from the date of his assumption of charge, the defence ministry said.
In a career spanning nearly 40 years, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (retd) held several command, staff, and instrumental appointments and had extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, and Northeast India.
Lt Gen Chauhan (retd) retired from the service in May last year when he was serving as the eastern Army Commander.
"The government has decided to appoint Lt General Anil Chauhan (Retired) as the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who shall also function as Secretary to Government of India, Department of Military Affairs with effect from the date of his assumption of charge and until further orders," the defence ministry said in a statement.
Born on May 18, 1961, Lt Gen Anil Chauhan was commissioned into the 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in 1981.
He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.
In the rank of Maj General, the officer had commanded an Infantry Division in the critical Baramulla sector in the Northern Command.
Later as Lt General, he commanded a corps in the Northeast and subsequently went to become the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command from September 2019 and held the charge until he retired from the service in May 2021.
In addition to these command appointments, the officer also tenanted important staff appointments including the charge of Director General of Military Operations.
Earlier, the officer had also served on a United Nations mission to Angola. Lt Gen Chauhan continued to contribute to national security and strategic matters even after his retirement as he has been associated with the National Security Council Secretariat.
For his distinguished and illustrious service in the Army, Lt General Anil Chauhan (retired) was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal, and Vishisht Seva Medal.
The post of Chief of Defence Staff has been lying vacant since the death of Gen Rawat in a helicopter crash on December 8 last year.
On January 1, 2020, Gen Rawat took charge as India's first CDS with a mandate to bring convergence in the functioning of the Army, the Navy, and the Indian Air Force and bolster the country's overall military prowess.
Another key mandate of the CDS was to facilitate the restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through the establishment of theatre commands.
In June, the government amended rules paving the way for the appointment of any serving or retired Lt General, Air Marshal, and Vice Admiral under the age of 62 to the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
The change in rules allowed three-star officers to become the CDS along with serving chiefs of the three services.
Officials said Lt Gen Chauhan (retd) will assume the rank of General once he takes charge as the CDS.