30th November 2015 18:11:45 Hours
Military salutes, including a Guard of Honour and a Guard Turnout formally saluted General Dalbir Singh, the 26th Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army whose participation in the ‘Operation Pawan’ of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in 1987, is regarded as one of the defining moments of his 40 year-long career when he visited the Army Headquarters Monday (30) morning at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva.
A colour-rich Guard of Honour, accorded by Gajaba Regiment (GR) troops at the adjoining Ministry of Defence grounds presented arms and saluted the visiting Army Chief in accordance with military traditions after a Guard Turnout greeted him soon after his arrival at the premises. Accompanied by Major General S.W.L Daulagala, Colonel of the Regiment, GR, the visiting Army Chief, reviewed the Guard of Honour before he took the salute.
Afterwards, at the entrance to the Commander’s Secretariat, senior Army officers, including the Chief of Staff, Major General Jagath Dias, Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Mahinda Ambanpola and all other Principal Staff Officers were introduced to the visiting four-star General Dalbir Singh by the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva after he warmly welcomed the visiting Indian Army Chief to the premises.
During the cordial meeting that ensued, both General Dalbir Singh and Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva recalled the historic relations that have existed between two nations for generations and memories during the 1987 deployment of IPKF in Sri Lanka, in which General Dalbir Singh served as a young Company Commander, one of the first units to be inducted at that time to fight against LTTE terrorism. He also refreshed his past memories during the IPKF service commitments in LTTE violence-affected areas in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaittivu and Wanni.
Both military chiefs during the meet at the Commander’s office shared views on current issues in the region and stressed the need to resolve them in an amicable manner with exchange of vital information, etc. General Dalbir Singh highlighted the importance of modernizing the Sri Lanka Army to suit international standards to be geared to meet with different types of emerging threats, including cyber attacks, etc. Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva in turn appreciated such assistance and requested the Indian Army to explore possibilities of new areas of training.
Talks also focused on ongoing training modules that are relevant to both organizations. The visiting Army Chief assured support for continuance of training programmes, spearheaded by the Sri Lanka Army, and both of them mutually agreed to broaden those horizons in the near future. While expressing willingness to further foster friendly defence ties with Sri Lanka, General Dalbir Singh also offered his Army’s technical assistance for upgrading of military requirements in the Sri Lanka Army.
The friendly meeting at the Commander’s office, attended by Military Secretary, Major General Mahesh Senanayake and Senior Liaison Officer and Commander, Security Force Headquarters - West, Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, culminated with exchange of symbolic mementoes between both Army chiefs, and General Dalbir Singh adding a few memories and compliments to the VIP book at the Commander’s office.
Minutes after his exit from the Commander's Office, the visiting Indian Army Chief received a comprehensive briefing on the Sri Lanka Army, its current roles and training modules from Major General B.A. Perera, Director General General Staff of the Sri Lanka Army.
Major General Jagath Dias, Chief of Staff, Major General E. M. M Ambanpola, Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Channa Gunatilleke, Commandant, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force and several Directors were associated with the briefing, presented to the visiting Indian Army Chief.
The delegation is comprised of the spouse of General Dalbir Singh, Mrs Namitha Suhag, Major General Gopal Gurang, Colonel Amitabh Jha, and Captain N.K Saraswat.
General Singh during his four-decade long military career has been awarded many accolades, like Parama Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM), Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), Vishisht Seva Medal and several other medals.
He has been a part of many successful military operations and counts the IPKF ‘Operation Pawan’ in Sri Lanka, in which he served as a Company Commander as one of the most memorable battlefield experiences in his military career as a dynamic young officer. His unit was one of the firsts to be inducted in Sri Lanka in 1987 in agreement with the Peace Accord that was signed between India and Sri Lanka at that time.
During his stay in Sri Lanka, the visiting Army Chief is scheduled to call on the Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, State Minister of Defence, Defence Secretary, Chief of Defence Staff, Air Force Commander and a few others. Moreover, he will attend wreath-laying ceremonies at the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) cenotaph at Battaramulla and the memorial in Palaly, Jaffna during his stay in the isle.
The previous two generations of Gen Dalbir Singh’s extended family have served in junior ranks in the Indian Army.
Soon after his meeting with Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva at the Army Headquarters and the subsequent briefing this morning (30), the visiting Indian Army Chief went to the Ministry of Defence to have courtesy calls on Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, State Minister of Defence, Hon Ruwan Wijewardena, Secretary to Defence, Eng Karunasena Hettiarachchi before he meets the Prime Minister Hon Ranil Wickramasinghe and the Commander of the Navy at the Navy Headquarters.
Here follows General Dalbir Singh’s official profile;
GENERAL DALBIR SINGH, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC
General Dalbir Singh PVSM UYSM AVSM VSM ADC was commissioned into 4/5 GR (FF) in June 1974. He is an alumnus of Sainik School, Chittorgarh and joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) in 1970. He holds Masters Degrees in Management Studies from the Osmania University and Strategic Studies from the Chennai University. The General has attended various career courses in India and aboard which include Long Defence Management Course at the CDM, Secunderabad, NDC Course at New Delhi, Executive Course in USA and Senior Mission Leaders Course (UN) in Kenya.
In a distinguished military career spanning four decades he has tenanted critical Command and Staff appointments which include tactical and operational levels of command in active counter insurgency and proxy war environment in the North East and Jammu & Kashmir. The General possesses tremendous operational experience which includes tenures as a Company Commander in Operation PAWAN in Sri Lanka, raising and commanding a Rashtriya Rifles Battalion in Nagaland and an Infantry Brigade deeply committed in intense Counter Insurgency Operations in the Kashmir Valley. He also holds the distinction of commanding a Mountain Division in Jammu & Kashmir deployed on the Line of Control in High Altitude Area. The General has commanded a Corps, looking after the dual responsibility of Counter Insurgency Operations in the North Eastern States as well as conventional operational tasks along the Indo - China Border and has also been the General Officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Command. The General has served as an Instructor in Army School of Mechanical Transport (ASMT), Bangalore as well as Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun. He has also tenanted important staff appointments at the Divisional and the Corps levels. He has also held important assignments in Army Headquarters, both as a Colonel and as a Brigadier and later as the VCOAS. The General has also tenanted the sensitive appointment of Inspector General SFF (Special Frontier Force), Cabinet Secretariat and has tremendous understanding of the capabilities of this force. The General has been holding the appointment of Colonel of the Regiment, 5 GR (FF) from 19 April 2011 and the President Gorkha Brigade from 01 January 2014. General assumed duties at the Office of Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) of the Indian Army on 31 July 2014 as the 26th COAS. The General is highly decorated and is the proud recipient of the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal. He is a keen sportsman and takes keen interest in Riding and Swimming. He is married to Mrs Namita Suhag who is a political science graduate from Delhi University.