NEW DELHI: Lt Gen Baggavalli Somashekar Raju will take over as the next vice chief of the Army Staff on May 1, the defence ministry said on Friday.
Lt Gen Raju will succeed incumbent Lt Gen Manoj Pande who will take the reins of the 1.3 million-strong Army after Army Chief Gen MM Naravane completes his term on Saturday.
A qualified helicopter pilot, Lt Gen Raju is currently serving as the Director General Military Operations and oversaw the Army’s overall operational readiness in eastern Ladakh.
An alumnus of Sainik School Bijapur and National Defence Academy, he was commissioned into the JAT Regiment on December 15, 1984.
In his illustrious career spanning 38 years, he had commanded his battalion during ‘Operation Parakram’ in the Western theatre and in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lt Gen Raju holds the distinction of commanding the Uri brigade along the Line of Control, a counter-insurgency force and at the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps. The officer also served as the commandant of the Indian military training team in Bhutan.
The officer also served in several important regimental, staff and instructional appointments in the Army headquarters and in field formations.
“The general officer is a qualified helicopter pilot having carried out operational flying in Somalia, as part of UNOSOM II (UN peacekeeping and humanitarian missions II),” the defence ministry said.
“Lt Gen Raju has attended all important career courses in India and has had the privilege of doing his NDC at Royal College of Defence Studies, United Kingdom,” it said in a statement.
He also holds a distinguished Master’s programme degree in counter terrorism at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey in the US.
For his illustrious contribution to the service, he has been awarded Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Yudh Seva Medal.