Army Chief of India: Current General of Indian Army, List of Chief of Army Staff (CoAS)

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Chief of Army Staff, also known as CoAS, is the highest-ranking position held by a general in the Indian Army. It is a statutory position constituted through the Indian Parliament’s Commanders-In-Chief (Change in Designation) Act of 1955. The Army Chief of India serves only the Indian Army and looks after its various ground operations.

Army Chief of India is a position with great responsibility. Indian Army is the largest army in the world and consists of 12 lakh active and 9 lakh reserve troops. It is also responsible for the security and safety of our borders. The Chief of Army Staff is the head of these troops as well as the advisor to the Prime Minister and President. CoAS also serves as an advisor to the Ministry of Defence to help them plan out various operations. The current army chief of India is Manoj Pande, who became the army head on 30th April 2022.

Army Chief of India

On 1st April 1895, the Indian Army was founded. Before January 1949, it was known as the British Indian Army. The office of the Army Chief of India has a rich history that goes all the way back to 1947. General Sir Robert Lockhart was the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. The first Indian to hold this post was Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa.

Army Chief of India PDF

The office of the General of the Indian Army was created in 1955. Before that, from 1947 to 1948, the post was called Commander-in-Chief. Then, there was a change in the designation which led to it being called Chief of the Army Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from 1948 to 1955. It was finally in 1955 that the designation Army Chief of India was finalized after the parliament act was passed. This position is of utmost strategic importance and is always held by a general with 4 stars and demonstrated history of merit in the army. Since the army’s inception, India has had 4 Commanders-in-Chief and 28 Chiefs of Army Staff to date. The office of the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) is physically located in South Block, Central Secretariat, Raisina Hill, New Delhi.

Current Army Chief of India

The current Chief of the Army Staff is General Manoj Pande from the Engineering Corps. He assumed the office of Army Chief of India on 30 April 2022 after getting selected for the post by the Indian Government. He succeeded Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane, who left the office on 30 April. General Pande is responsible for various operations within the army and advises the government on defence strategies. He is the first person from his unit of commission to become Chief of Army Staff. Before this, he was also Vice Chief of Army Staff and Commander-in-Chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command. He also served as General Officer-Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command before assuming his role as the Army Chief.

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List of Chief of Army Staff (CoAS)

General Sir Robert Lockhart was appointed as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army on 15 August 1947. The last British person to hold this post was General Francis Robert Roy Bucher. On 16th January 1949, Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa became the first person of Indian origin to hold the office of Army Chief of India. A total of 32 people have held this prestigious post till now. Below, we have provided a full list of Chief of Army Staff, their tenures, and their unit of commission.

List of Army Chiefs of India
Tenure Name Rank Unit of Commission
15 August 1947 to 31 December 1947 General Sir Robert Lockhart Commander-in-Chief 51 Sikhs Frontier Force
21 June 1948 to 15 January 1949 General Francis Robert Roy Bucher Scottish Rifles
16 January 1949 to 14 January 1953 Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa Rajput Rifles
15 January 1953 to 1 April 1955 General Maharaj Rajendrasinhji Jadeja 2nd Lancers (Gardner’s Horse)
1 April 1955 to 14 May 1955 General Maharaj Rajendrasinhji Jadeja  

Chief of Army Staff

2nd Lancers (Gardner’s Horse)
15 May 1955 to 7 May 1957 General Satyawant Mallana Shrinagesh 19th Hyderabad Regiment
8 May 1957 to 7 May 1961 General Kodandera Subayya Thimayya 19th Hyderabad Regiment
8 May 1961 to 19 November 1962 General Pran Nath Thapar 1st Punjab Regiment
20 November 1962 to 7 June 1966 General Jayanto Nath Chaudhuri 7th Light Cavalry
8 June 1966 to 7 June 1969 General Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam Regiment of Artillery
8 June 1969 to 15 January 1973 Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw 12th Frontier Force Regiment
16 January 1973 to 31 May 1975 General Gopal Gurunath Bewoor Dogra Regiment
1 June 1975 to 31 May 1978 General Tapishwar Narain Raina Kumaon Regiment
1 June 1978 to 31 May 1981 General Om Prakash Malhotra Regiment of Artillery
1 June 1981 to 31 July 1983 General Kotikalapudi Venkata Krishna Rao Mahar Regiment
1 August 1983 to 31 January 1986 General Arun Kumar Shridhar Vaidya 9th Deccan Horse
1 February 1986 to 31 May 1988 General Krishnaswamy Sundarji Mahar Regiment
1 June 1988 to 30 June 1990 General Ashwa Nath Sharma 16th Light Cavalry
1 July 1990 to 30 June 1993 General Sunith Francis Rodrigues Regiment of Artillery
1 July 1993 to 19 November 1994 General Bipin Chandra Joshi 64th Cavalry
20 November 1994 to 30 September 1997 General Shankar Roy Chowdhary 20th Lancers
1 October 1997 to 30 September 2000 General Ved Prakash Malik Sikh Light Infantry
1 October 2000 to 31 December 2002 General Sundarajan Padmanabhan Regiment of Artillery
1 January 2003 to 31 January 2005 General Nirmal Chander Vij Dogra Regiment
1 February 2005 to 30 September 2007 General Joginder Jaswant Singh Maratha Light Infantry
1 October 2007 to 31 March 2010 General Deepak Kapoor Regiment of Artillery
1 April 2010 to 31 May 2012 General Vijay Kumar Singh Rajput Regiment
1 June 2012 to 31 July 2014 General Bikram Singh Sikh Light Infantry
1 August 2014 to 31 December 2016 General Dalbir Singh Suhag 5 Gorkha Rifles
31 December 2016 to 31 December 2019 General Bipin Rawat 11th Gorkha Rifles
31 December 2019 to 30 April 2022 General Manoj Mukund Naravane 7th Sikh Light Infantry
30 April 2022 to Present General Manoj Pande Corps of Engineers

First Army Chief of India

Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa was the first Army Chief of India who took over the office from General Francis Robert Roy Bucher on 16 January 1949. He remained in the position till 14 January 1953. Some interesting facts about the life of the first Chief of Army Staff are as follows:

  • He was born on January 28, 1899, in the Coorg district, Karnataka, and died on May 15, 1993, in Bangalore.
  • He was trained in the Military during the 1st world war, and he was among the first group of Indian personnel who were sent for training in 1919 to Indore to join the British Indian Army.
  • He became the first Army Chief of India after getting various promotions: in 1923 – he was promoted to lieutenant; in 1927 – he was promoted to the rank of Captain; in 1938 – he became Major in the Army; in 1942 – he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and finally got promoted to the rank of Brigadier in 1946.

Tenure of Indian Army Chief

A Chief of Army Staff can hold his office for 3 years or till he reaches a maximum age of 62 years, whichever comes first. There is no minimum age limit to become an Indian Army Chief. However, possessing four stars and being a full General are the conditions that must be satisfied before one becomes eligible for the post of Army General of India.

Army Chief of India Salary

The Chief of Army Staff is a well-paid position and has the highest payout in the army. The Army Chief of India’s salary is set according to the norms of the 7th pay commission and is paid on Level 18 of the pay scale. Apart from the salary, Army Chief is also entitled to various perks and benefits such as government amenities for housing, transportation, etc. The Chief of Army Staff’s salary is fixed at Rs 2,50,000 and follows the norms of the Indian government.

Retirement Age of Army Chief of India

The retirement age of the Chief of Army Staff is 62 years old. There is no particular age limit set for the post of Army Chief. The position is held by the highest-ranking officer in India; however, the tenure is only 3 years. Thus, the retirement of the Army Chief of India depends on whether they attain the age of 62 first or complete 3 years of service. These are the only criteria based on which the retirement of the Army head is based.

Vice Chief of Army Staff

The current Vice Chief of Army Staff is Lieutenant General M. V. Suchindra Kumar, who holds the office from 01 March 2023 onwards. The Vice Chief of Army Staff is the second highest position in the Indian Army, which is usually held by a three-star lieutenant general.

Chief of Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force

In India, the Chief of the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force is held by the Chief of Defence Staff which is the highest position in the Indian Armed Forces. The first CDS of India was General Bipin Rawat, who held the office on 1st January 2020 and was supposed to be in the position till December 2022. He died in December 2021 in a helicopter crash, following which Lt. General Anil Chauhan became the next CDS on September 28, 2022.

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