Days before the Congress-led UPA government demits office, the defence ministry Monday recommended the name of Indian Army vice chief, Lt. Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag, to the cabinet committee on appointments as the next head of the force, sources said.
The move comes as the Election Commission gave government the go-ahead for appointing the new army chief.
The cabinet committee is expected to clear Lt. Gen. Suhag’s name in a day or two.
The new army chief is generally named two months before the incumbent retires.
Indian Army Chief Gen. Bikram Singh retires July 31.
Asked about the clearance, Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said: “Any matter pertaining to defence forces including recruitment and promotion do not fall within the model code of conduct.”
The BJP had opposed appointment of the new army chief at the “fag end” of the government’s tenure.
An alumnus of Sainik School Chittorgarh, Lt. Gen. Suhag joined the National Defence Academy in 1970.
He served as a company commander during “Op Pawan” in Sri Lanka , commanded the 53 Infantry Brigade that was involved in counter-insurgency operations in the Kashmir Valley and commanded the 8 Mountain Division in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2012, he was put under a Discipline and Vigilance ban by then outgoing army chief Gen. V.K. Singh for a failed intelligence operation at Jorhat in Assam.
The ban was revoked by Gen Bikram Singh, when he took over as the army chief, paving the way for Suhag’s elevation as the Eastern Army Commander in June, 2012.