Amidst land and maritime border tension with China, the Ministry of Defence has appointed a new Commander-In-Chief of India’s only Tri-Service command. Lieutenant General Manoj Pande took over as the 15th Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman & Nicobar Command (CINCAN).
Since the time the Department of Military Affairs headed by General Bipin Rawat has been created with the primary purpose to increase the integration among Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, all eyes have been on how the lessons can be drawn from India’s only established Tri-Service command where all three services have been working together for more than a decade. Since the A&N command is the most important from the Indian military reforms and war preparedness point of views, the CINCAN becomes one of the most important faces in executing the tasks set by the Indian government for the immediate future who plays an extremely crucial role even after his CINCAN tenure ends.
The new CINCAN appointment is the first one after the creation of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) post. Hence the new CINCAN has been appointed with the specific tasks to be performed to integrate India’s three armed forces further in coordination with the DMA & CDS.
The tension brewing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China, if not resolved quickly, may easily spill over into the maritime domain where the CINCAN will play an extremely sensitive role.
THE NEW CINCAN
An alumnus of National Defence Academy, Lt Gen Pande was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers) in December 1982. He is a graduate of Staff College, Camberley (United Kingdom) and attended the Higher Command Course at Army War College, Mhow and National Defence College (NDC) at Delhi.
During his 37 years of distinguished service, he has taken active part in Operation Vijay and Parakram. He commanded an Engineer Regiment along the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir, an Engineer Brigade as part of the Strike Corps, an Infantry Brigade along the Line of Control, a Mountain Division in High Altitude Area of Western Ladakh and a Corps deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as also in Counter Insurgency Operations area in the North East. He has tenanted important staff assignments and was posted as Chief Engineer at the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. He was Director General at Army headquarters dealing with subjects of discipline, ceremonial and welfare, prior to assuming the CINCAN appointment