India extends tenure of army chief amid ongoing general elections

Gen Manoj Pande was set to retire from service on May 31

By Web Desk
May 26, 2024
Indian Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande addressing an event in this undated image. — AFP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Indian government has extended the tenure of the country’s Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande for a period of one month amid ongoing elections.

The Indian army chief was to retire from service on May 31, according toIndian Express.


“The Appointments Committee of Cabinet on May 26 approved the extension in service of Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj C Pande for a period of one month, beyond his normal age of superannuation (May 31), i.e. up to June 30, under Rule 16 A (4) of the Army Rules 1954,” the publication quoted the defence ministry as saying in a statement.

The top Indian general was commissioned in December 1982 in the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers).

He held the post of Vice Chief of the Army Staff before taking over the reins of the 1.2 million-strong force in April 2022.

The development comes as Indian is holding elections in phases that began on April 19 and will conclude on June 1, with results due on June 4.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced voter fatigue and some resistance from a resurgent opposition in the mammoth general election, Reuters reported citing insiders.

They said foot soldiers of his party's Hindu nationalist parent have stepped in to help regain momentum.

So far, voter turnout has been lower than in previous elections, raising concern within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that some of its core supporters were staying away.

Modi's party, chasing a rare third term in office, has also faced stronger opposition than anticipated in a handful of states, leading election experts and Indian financial markets to adjust forecasts of a landslide win.

With no exit polls allowed until all the voting is completed on June 1, it's difficult to judge how well or poorly candidates are faring. But most analysts say Modi should be able to retain a majority in the 543-seat parliament when votes are counted on June 4.

— With input from Reuters