General Bipin Rawat, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM, ADC, former COAS & COSC, President Gorkha Brigade & Col 11 GR and Sikkim Scouts, was appointed as the first (CDS) of the Indian Armed Forces, a newly created post by the Govt of India, w.e.f 01 Jan 2020. He was a single point Military Advisor to the Government of India on strategic issues and headed the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in MoD. He was also the Permanent Chairman of the COSC. Apart from coordinating with the three Service Chiefs as ‘first among equals, he was entrusted with the authority to create integrated Theatre Commands and ensure jointness in their planning, training, administration and operations.
General Bipin Rawat was born in a family which has been serving the Indian Army for multiple generations. He attended Cambrian Hall School in Dehradun and the St Edward’s School in Shimla. The 63-year-old was an alumnus of NDA Khadakwasla and IMA Dehradun, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’. In December 1978, he was commissioned into the Indian Army in the same unit as his father, 5/11 Gorkha Rifles. He graduated from DSSC Wellington and received an MPhil in Strategic and Defence Studies from the University of Madras. He also attended the Higher Command Course at US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, USA. In 2018, he was inducted into the International Hall of Fame at the same institution.
During his four decades in service, he gained vast experience in High Altitude Warfare and Counter insurgency operations. He commanded 5/11 GR (Bogra) along the LAC in the Eastern Sector, 5 Sector RR in Sopore (J&K), 19 Infantry Division in Kashmir Valley and 3 Corps in North East. As GOC 3 Corps, he oversaw the hot pursuit of North Eastern terr0r groups by the Indian Army’s SF into Myanmar. This was the beginning of the transformation of India’s strategic culture which was more prone to taking proactive actions to protect India’s national interests. This same strategy was later applied against Pakistan when Gen Rawat, as Vice Chief of the Army Staff, was involved in planning the surgical strikes against Pakistan based terrorist groups in PoK. He commanded a Multinational Brigade as part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Chapter VII Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
He also held staff assignments including an instructional tenure at IMA Dehradun, General Staff Officer Grade 2 at the Military Operations Directorate, logistics staff officer of a RAPID in Central India, Colonel Military Secretary and Deputy Military Secretary in the Military Secretary’s Branch and Senior Instructor in the Junior Command Wing. He was also a Major General Staff (MGGS) of HQ Eastern Command. He assumed the appointment of GOC-in-C Southern Command, Pune on 01 Jan 2016 and had moved out to assume the appointment of Vice Chief of the Army Staff on 01 Sep 2016. He had taken over the appointment of Col 11 GR & Sikkim Scouts on 22 Jun 2016 and assumed the appointment as the 27th COAS on 31 Dec 2016 on the retirement of Gen Dalbir Singh. As COAS, his achievements were praiseworthy in all spheres of military activities & national security Tackling CI/CT in J&K and NE and deft handling of Doklam face-off with the PLA, he etched the Indian Army’s never-say-die attitude into the minds of the Chinese soldiers who had to blink first during the faceoff. His drive and directions were fundamental in restructuring the army to cut administrative flab, reduce duplicity and increase combat potential. He had also ensured that the man behind the machine remains important. Gen Bipin Rawat was a die-hard Regimental Officer with steady values and a very strong character. Indian Army’s motto ‘Service Before Self’ has been his guiding principle throughout his Army Career. He had the courage of conviction to call a spade a spade and took decisions in the interest of the Nation and the Army. He was married to Mrs Madhulika Rawat, who was an alumnus of Scindia School, Gwalior. They have two daughters, Kritika & Tarini. Mrs Madhulika Rawat was an Honours Graduate in Psychology from Delhi University & was actively involved in social work.
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