General Manoj Mukund Naravane on December 31, 2019 took over as the 28th Chief of the 1.3 million-strong Indian Army. He was earlier the Vice-Chief of the Indian Army as Lt. General. He succeeded Gen. Bipin Rawat who superannuated on the same day and went on to become the first Chief of Defence Staff. Gen. Naravane would serve till April 2022.
Commissioned into the 7th Battalion, the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment, in June 1980, Gen. Naravane is the third Chief of Army Staff from this Regiment after Gen. V.P. Malik and Gen. Bikram Singh. Known in the military circles as the “quintessential Army man,” he has served in key appointments in active counter-insurgency environments, both in the North-East and in Jammu and Kashmir. Before being appointed Vice-Chief of the Army, Gen. Naravane had headed the Army’s crucial Eastern Command that takes care of India’s nearly 4,000-km-long border with China.
Gen. Naravane was also part of the ‘Operation Pawan’ of Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka during the civil war on the island. He had also served as India’s defence attache at the Indian embassy in Myanmar for three years.
For his contribution to the defence forces, Gen. Naravane was awarded the Sena Medal (Distinguished) for commanding his battalion in Jammu and Kashmir. He was also honoured with the Vashisht Seva Medal and the Ati Vashisht Seva Medal for his services as the Inspector General of Assam Rifles (North) in Nagaland and for commanding a strike corps respectively. He had also headed the Army Training Command (ARTRAC). Gen. Naravane is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and Higher Command Course, Mhow. He holds a Master’s Degree in Defence Studies, an M. Phil Degree in Defence and Management Studies. Currently pursuing his Doctorate, he did his schooling at Jnana Prabodhini Prashala, Pune.