New Delhi: General VK Singh, who took over the reins of the Indian Army 24 months ago, will retire on Thursday as the Army Chief, bringing an end to what has been a controversial tenure marred by rows over his age and fissures among the military top brass.
Singh who hangs up his uniform after 41 years in the service will be succeeded by General Bikram Singh, who will have a tenure of 2 years and 3 months.
When he took over in April 2010, General VK Singh had identified his foremost goal as restoring the Army's "internal health".
General VK Singh will be succeeded by General Bikram Singh, who will have a tenure of 2 years and 3 months.
On January 16, the Army Chief took the unprecedented step of dragging the government to Supreme Court seeking a change in his date of birth in official records; this would have given him an additional ten months of service.
It was a red letter day. Never before in the history of civil-military relationship had a Chief dragged his government to court.
But three hearings later, once the Supreme Court rejected his plea, forcing him to withdraw his petition; Gen Singh faced the prospect of an anonymous retirement just four months away.
In a media interview the General alleged that he had turned down a 14 crore bribe by one of his senior generals Lt Gen Tejinder Singh. That was followed by the leak of his letter to the Prime Minister warning about the Army's poor state of operational readiness.
The message many believed was clear. The General was unabashedly staking his claim as anti-corruption crusader.
Even as controversies clouded the last few months of his tenure. He did lay the roadmap for transformation of the Army into a lean fighting unit. His red flagging of shortage of arms and ammunition pushed the government to take immediate steps.
Gen Singh's critics say he is leaving the Army in disarray. And the task for Gen Bikram Singh is cut out, to apply a healing touch to an Army that has seen many a controversy in the last 26 months.