Presently serving as the Indian Army’s director-general of military operations (DGMO), Lieutenant General Baggavalli Somashekar Raju will take over as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff (VCOAS) on May 1, 2022, succeeding Lieutenant General Manoj Pande who was appointed as the country’s 29th army chief on April 18 after the retirement of General MM Naravane. 

“General MM Naravane #COAS & All Ranks of #IndianArmy congratulate Lieutenant General BS Raju on being appointed as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff #VCOAS of #IndianArmy. Lt Gen BS Raju will assume the appointment of #VCOAS on 01 May 2022,” Additional Directorate General of Public Information, IHQ of MoD (Army) wrote on Twitter.

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Lt Gen Raju’s appointment marks a rare occurrence where an officer who has not served as an Army Commander is given charge as the Vice Chief.

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A qualified chopper pilot, Lt Gen Raju has also led Srinagar’s 15 Corps, also known as Chinar Corps, as the 49th Commander. During his tenure (March 1, 2020 to March 17, 2021), Chinar Corps set up a Feedback & Grievances Helpline. 

While serving as the Indian army’s DGMO,  Lt Gen Raju monitored and supervised China’s border standoff in Ladakh. As he moves on to the post of VCOAS, his present rank as the DGMO will be filled in by General Manoj Katiyar.

Lt Gen Raju is an alumnus of Bijapur’s Sainik School and a former gentleman cadet of the National Defence Academy. On December 15, 1984, he was commissioned in the army’s infantry regiment and 11th battalion- the Jat Regiment. 

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In a defence career spanning over 38 years, Lt Gen Raju served several roles including Director-General of Staff Duties at Army HQ, the Colonel of the Jat Regiment, and the commandant of the Indian Military Training Team in Bhutan. He also led the Counter Insurgency Force briefly in 2017 after the encounter of Burhan Wani, the commander of Hizbul Mujahideen.

His academic achievements include a Master’s degree in counter-terrorism from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, US. He also attended the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Defence Studies.