As Manoj Mukund Naravane Becomes Army Chief, All Three Service Chiefs Are From the Same NDA Batch
New Delhi: With Lt-General Manoj Mukund Narvane taking charge as the chief of Army staff, he has joined his two batch mates from National Defence Academy in leading the country’s military pinnacle.
Lt-General Narvane, chief of naval staff Admiral Karambir Singh and Chief of Air Staff Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, had joined the National Defence Academy together in 1976. Forty-four years later the trio are on the top of pyramidal armed forces.
Admiral Singh took charge as the Navy chief on May 31, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria took the role of Indian Air Force chief on September 30 and the two have now been joined by their other batch mate, Lt-General Narvane as the chief of Armed Staff.
The trio completed their three years in the academy and went to their respective service academies before getting commissioned as officers in June-July 1980. “It’s extremely rare for three NDA course-mates to become chiefs of their respective services because there are so many permutations and combinations involved like date of birth, career progression, merit, seniority and, of course, plain and simple luck,” a senior officer was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
A similar scene was witnessed at the passing out parade of the 81st course of NDA in December 1991 which was attended by the then three chiefs, General SF Rodriques, Admiral L Ramdas and ACM NC Suri. They. too, were course-mates from NDA.
While Lt-Gen Naravane and ACM Bhadauria were in the “Lima” squadron at NDA, Admiral Singh was in the “Hunter” squadron.
According to an officer, Admiral Singh and Lt-Gen Naravane were friends even before joining the academy as they were together in school too.
General Naravane took charge as the Chief of Army Staff, succeeding General Bipin Rawat. He served as vice chief of the Army before taking charge of the 1.3 million strong Army. In his 37 years of service, General Naravane served in numerous command and staff appointments in peace, field and highly active counter-insurgency environments in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.