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Gen. V.K. Singh: Tough soldier who lost a legal battle (Profile)
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 2/10/2012 12:00:00 AM
Gen. V.K. Singh: Tough soldier who lost a legal battle (Profile)

New Delhi :  Indian Army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh, who withdrew his petition against a government order recording his birth date as May 10, 1950 after the Supreme Court asked him to do so, is a highly distinguished soldier who may have lost perhaps his first battle -- albeit in a court of law.

Singh has all along maintained that he was born on May 10, 1951 and not a year earlier as the government maintains in his service records. He had gone to the apex court on Jan 16 against the government stand.

Born on May 10, 1950 as per his service records, but holding a birth certificate and school leaving certificate that proclaims he was born a year later, Singh was commissioned into the 2 Rajput Regiment on June 14, 1970. He went on to command the same unit when it was deployed along the Line of Control with Pakistan.

Singh's birth date discrepancy, though, stems from his 1965 application to the Union Public Service Commission to join the National Defence Academy. He was studying at Birla Public School in Pilani, Rajasthan, at the time.

In that application, he had mentioned that he was born in 1950. The record came back 36 years later to haunt him in 2006 when he was up for promotion as a Corps Commander.

The Pune-born Singh has a very distinguished military career, having stood first in combat operations in the prestigious Rangers Course at Fort Benning in the US.

He also graduated from the Defence Services Staff College with honours and from the United States Army Infantry School and the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

He was on March 11, 2011 admitted into the US Army War College International Fellows Hall of Fame -- the first officer of the Indian armed forces officer to get that honour -- having graduated from there in 2001.

Singh hails from Bapora in Bhiwani district of Haryana and is a third generation army man. His father was a colonel and grandfather a junior commissioned officer.

He has the distinction commanding the Ambala-based 2 Corps in the western sector and was the Eastern Army Commander in Kolkata.

He was named the 24th Indian Army chief on Jan 22, 2010 he took over command of the 1.13-million-strong world's second largest standing army on Mar 31 that year.

Singh has also done a cameo in "Prahaar: The Final Attack", Nana Patekar's 1991 Hindi movie.

A experienced counter-insurgency and high-altitude operations hand, Singh is also the last of the Indian Army chief to have fought in a full-fledged conventional war, having seen action in the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war. He is also a veteran of the Indian Peace-Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka.

During his nearly 42-year career, Singh has served in military operations directorate at the army headquarters and as a Brigadier General Staff of a corps during Operation Parakram in 2001-02 when troops were mobilised on the Western border following the December 2001 terror strike on the Indian parliament.

He is a recipient of Param Vishist Seva Medal, Ati Vishist Seva Medal and Yudh Seva Medal and is also one of the honorary Aides-de-Camp of the Indian president.

Singh is married to Bharati Singh and the couple has two daughters.

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Gen. V.K. Singh: Tough soldier who lost a legal battle (Profile)

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