New Delhi: General Vijay Kumar Singh (Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Meda, Aide-de-camp) is the 26th Chief of the Army Staff. A veteran of the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, General Singh, an alumnus of National Defence Academy (NDA), was commissioned in 2 Rajput in 1970. He also saw action during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka in 1987 where he was awarded Yudh Seva Medal.
General Singh, a para-commando, is also a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and the US Army Rangers Course at Fort Benning, USA and US Army War College, Carlisle.
He has also been involved in the counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, for which he was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.
General Singh is involved in a battle with the government to restore what he calls is his \"integrity and honour\".
But now General Singh is involved in a different kind of battle with Central Government to restore what he calls is his "integrity and honour". In an unprecedented move General Singh on January 16, 2012 moved the Supreme Court to resolve the controversy over his date of birth.
There are two sets of General Singh's date of birth in the Army's records leading to a controversy and putting a question mark over when he would retire and the officer succeeding him to lead the 1.13 million strong fighting force.
General Singh contends that May 10, 1951 should be treated as his actual date of birth as it was mentioned in his matriculation certificate but the Defence Ministry has rejected it as May 10, 1950 is the date entered in his Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) form for the NDA.
The Adjutant Branch, Army's official record keeper, also records May 10, 1951 as General Singh date of birth and the same is mentioned in his Army ID card, driving licence, passport and other service records. Even all his Annual Confidential Reports since 1970 show May 10, 1951 as his date of birth.
But the Military Service Branch has another set of the General's date of birth showing that he was born on May 10, 1950 and this is the date that the Ministry of Defence has been insisting on as being official.
If General Singh's date of birth is taken as May 10, 1951 then he will retire in March 2013 and if May 10, 1950 is accepted then his tenure will come to an end in May 2012. The difference of one year will have an affect on who will succeed him as the next Army Chief.
If he retires on May 31, 2012 then Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Bikram Singh will take over as the next Army Chief, but if he demits office in March 2013 then Northern Army commander Lieutenant General KT Parnaik could take over from him as Lt Gen Bikram Singh will retire later in 2012.
But if General Singh is removed or resigns before May 31, 2012, then Western Command Chief Lieutenant General Shankar Ghosh, who is the senior most serving officer in the Army, will take on as the 27th Chief of the Indian Army.
General Singh himself has filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the government that his date of birth be treated as May 10, 1951 and not May 10, 1950.