New Delhi: Lt Gen Manoj C Pande, who has been appointed the 29th Chief of the Army Staff, hails from Nagpur and members of his family are connected with the defence forces, while his academician-father retired from the Nagpur university and the mother worked in the All India Radio.
Lt Gen Pande will succeed General MM Naravane, whose tenure ends on April 30.
Currently serving as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff, he will become the first commander from the Corps of Engineers to take charge of the 1.3-million-strong force as the position has been held so far by officers from infantry, artillery and armoured regiments.
Col Abhay Patwardhan (Retd), who has met Lt Gen Pande a couple of times in Nagpur, told PTI on Monday that the latter did his initial schooling from the city and has a lot of acquaintances in Nagpur, news agency PTI reported.
He described Lt Gen Pande, who was born on May 6, 1962, as a “very capable officer” who has the ability to become the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) also.
A senior journalist, who knows his family, said Lt Gen Pande’s father, C G Pande, lives in Nagpur.
C G Pande was a consulting psychotherapist and retired as the Head of the Department (Psychology) of the Nagpur university, while Lt Gen Pande’s mother late Prema was a popular announcer and host with the All India Radio, he said.
Lt Gen Pande’s youngest brother Sanket Pande also was in the Indian Army and retired as a Colonel. His other brother, Ketan Pande, and his wife live abroad, the journalist said.
Lt Gen Pande’s wife Archana is a homemaker, while son Akshay is an officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF), he added.
8 things you should know about the new Army Chief:
1. Lt. General Manoj Pande will take over as India’s Army Chief after April 30 when General M M Naravane retires
2. Lieutenant General Manoj Pande is the senior most officer in the Army after General Naravane
3. Lt. General Pande was heading the Eastern Army Command that takes care of guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which guards the Arunachal and Sikkim borders
4. Lt. Gen. Pande also served as Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, which is the country’s only tri-services command
5. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy. He was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers) in December 1982
6. He commanded an engineer regiments along the Line of Control during Operation Parakram in Jammu and Kashmir
7. Lt. General Pandey has served as chief engineer in the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea
8. He has been conferred with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, the Chief of Army Staff Commendation and twice with GOC-in-C Commendation.