NEW DELHI: The government has finally cleared the names of Lt General Bipin Rawat as the new Army vice chief from September 1, while Lt Gen P M Hariz will replace him as the Southern Command chief. The force on Monday also got a new signal officer-in-chief in Lt Gen A R Prasad. But the suspense over some other top-level crucial appointments continued despite the Chandimandir-based Western Army Command,which is the most critical formation on the western front with Pakistan, becoming headless after Lt Gen K J Singh's retirement. Normally, chiefs of operational military commands are announced well in advance.
Sources said there was "some delay" since defence minister Manohar Parrikar had asked the Army for "the rationale and reasons" behind proposing certain names for the top posts. "The files have gone to and fro a couple of times. The appointments, of course, ultimately have to be cleared by the appointments committee of the cabinet chaired by the PM," said a source.
Though official announcements are awaited, sources say Lt Gen Surinder Singh is likely to be appointed the Western Command chief, while Lt Gen R R Nimbhorkar will be the new master general of ordnance. Lt Gen D R N Soni, in turn, could be appointed the chief of the tri-service integrated defence staff.