New Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen RP Kalita inspects a Guard of Honour at Fort William. (DC)
Kolkata: Lieutenant General Rana Pratap Kalita took over as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army on Tuesday, succeeding Lt Gen Manoj Pande who has become the vice chief of army staff.
Lt Gen Kalita assumed office at Fort William after paying homage to the martyrs at Vijay Smarak followed by a guard of honour at Garrison Battalion Parade Ground. He has conveyed his "warm greetings to the people and wishes them peace, prosperity, health and happiness in times ahead."
The new Eastern Army Commander, who hails from the North East, earlier served as the director general (Manpower Planning & Personnel Services) at the Integrated Headquarters (IHQ) of the ministry of defence (Army) in New Delhi.
Commissioned into 9 Kumaon regiment in 1984, he has extensive operational experience in Sri Lanka, Jammu & Kashmir and North East which includes commanding a Rashtriya Rifles Battalion in Kashmir, a Mountain Brigade and an Infantry Division actively engaged in counter insurgency (CI) operations in J&K and strategically important Spear Corps under the Eastern Command in North East apart from his stint as Colonel GS of a Division and BGS (Ops) of a Corps in a highly active CI environment.
Lt Gen Kalita, a recipient of Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishist Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Vishist Seva Medal, Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card & GOC-in-C Easter Command Commendation Card, has rich experience by virtue of serving in varied staff appointments to include key appointments in Military Secretary’s Branch, Operational Logistics Directorate, Adjutant General’s Branch in IHQ of MoD (Army).
An alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, Higher Command and National Defence College, Lt Gen Kalita served twice in the United Nations as a Military Observer in Sierra Leone and Chief Operations Officer in Sudan.