July 25, 2024

General Upendra Dwivedi: Command of the World’s Finest Army

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By: Lt Col JS Sodhi (Retd), Editor, GSDN

General Upendra Dwivedi, PVSM, AVSM: source Internet

General Omar Bradley, the US Army Field Commander reckoned during the World War II “Leadership is intangible, and therefore no weapon ever designed can replace it” is relevant even after nearly eight decades though new domains of war have been added like cyber, electromagnetic and space warfare to the existing conventional domains of war namely land, sea and air.

It is the desire of every Officer Cadet undergoing training in the two military academies of the Indian Army, the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and the Officers Training Academy, Chennai where pre-commissioning training is done that when they finish their pre-commissioning training and step on the Antim Pag or The Final Step to become commissioned officers in the Indian Army, to command the fantastic and the finest army of the world, the Indian Army.

In October 2022, the German publication Statista rated the Indian Armed Forces comprising the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy as the most professional armed forces in the world.

General Upendra Dwivedi, PVSM, AVSM who has assumed the command as the 30th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Indian Army on June 30, 2024 is a well-qualified and highly combat-experienced officer to lead the 1.2 million strong army which is the world’s second-largest army and the largest volunteer army globally.

The General Officer belongs to the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles of the Infantry and has the unique distinction to become the first Indian Army Chief from the JAK Rif, as this regiment is also known in the Indian Army.

The Indian Army Chief has tenanted important staff, instructional, operational and command appointments since December 15, 1984 on commissioning in the Indian Army. The General Officer has also done prestigious courses of instruction, both in India and abroad and has served in the United Nations Peace Keeping Force too, apart from being a Military Attache to the Government of Seychelles.

General Upendra Dwivedi has commanded 18 JAK Rif in the Kashmir Valley during Operation Rakshak, an Assam Rifles sector as part of Operation Rhino in Manipur, has been the Inspector General of Assam Rifles in north-east India and thereafter commanded a Corps in western India and the Northern Command of the Indian Army, which is the only command of the Indian Army tasked for operations against both China and Pakistan. Thereafter, the General Officer became the Vice-Chief of the Indian Army before taking over as the 30th COAS.

The Indian Army Chief has done prestigious professional courses like the Staff Course in Wellington, India and the Higher Command Course in Mhow, apart from being an alumnus of both the National Defence College, New Delhi and the United States Army War College, Carlisle.

The ex-National Defence Academy General Officer who belongs to the 65 NDA Course and Charlie Squadron, did his schooling from Sainik School, Rewa, has been an instructor in the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and the Army War College, Mhow. The Indian Army Chief has had two foreign tenures having been part of the United Nations mission in Somalia and having been the Military Attache in Seychelles.

The Indian Army Chief has performed staff appointments in an Armoured Brigade, Mountain Division, a Strike Corps apart from being the Director General Infantry and the Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Information Systems and Coordination).

Thus, with an unmatchable career in the Indian Army, the General Officer is well-poised and well-suited to command this great organisation as the threat of China and Pakistan, India’s two belligerent neighbours get stronger and the counter insurgency operations against the terrorists operating in different parts of northern and north-east India reach a critical juncture.

Major General Sudhakar Jee, VSM (Retired), a renowned defence and strategic affairs analyst settled in Jaipur, who has served with General Upendra Dwivedi as an instructor in the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and has known him well for over three decades, in an interview to GSDN said that the COAS having served in varied terrain and operational environment including deserts, high altitude, riverine, built up areas, Jammu and Kashmir in both command of troops as well as in staff duties with exposure to all Arms and Services within the Army in all theatres of operation, especially in the northern and eastern theatre conflict zones, the Chief is best qualified and experienced to provide  lasting solutions to many of the criticalities the nation is currently faced with, such as  the ongoing extended stand-off along the northern borders, Manipur conflagration, revival of terrorism in Jammu region and Kashmir valley, the vulnerability of the Siliguri Corridor and others. The Major General further remarked that the Army Chief is also not only competent to contribute and provide momentum to ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ but also capable to ensure capacity and capability enhancement of the Indian Army so as to make the military might of the Indian Army formidable as also to achieve ‘Punitive Deterrence’ against the adversaries in the long term. 

In another interview to GSDN, Colonel Bhupinder Shahi (Retired), an Indian Army Veteran settled in Mohali, Punjab who is from the Army Chief’s regiment, described the General Officer as a great persona, an amazing human and a thorough professional who with his charming smile has never lost temper in his entire career and has been totally devoted to the organisation. The Veteran who is now the Vice-President of Mohali of the Bhartiya Janata Party, further stated that as a Colonel, the COAS displayed immense strategic vision and courage both physical and moral and by personal example and leadership inspired his command to perform outstandingly well in any task assigned to the battalion.

As the Army Commander of the Northern Command, the General Officer is credited with overseeing the induction of the first lot of Zorawar light tanks in August 2023 in the Ladakh region that is seeing heightened tensions with China since early-April 2020. The Northern Command under the stewardship of General Dwivedi also organised the North Tech Symposium in September 2023 which successfully showcased the Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self Reliant India) and Make in India initiatives of the Government of India.

General Upendra Dwivedi as the 30th COAS of the Indian Army, carries with him rich operational and administrative experience at a time when India’s defence preparedness has to be at an all-time high in view of the precarious global geopolitical scenario.


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