Army Chiefs

General Joginder Jaswant Singh



COAS, 31 Jan 2005 - 30 Sept 2007
Infantry, 9 Maratha LI

General Joginder Jaswant Singh assumed charge of the Indian Army, as the 22nd Chief of Army Staff, on 31 January 2005. Born on 17 September 1945 in Bahawalpur (now in Pakistan), his family migrated to Patiala in Punjab after partition in 1947. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA) and was commissioned into the 9 Maratha Light Infantry (LI) on 02 August 1964. He received the colour of the Battalion from President (Late) Dr. Zakir Hussain at the Investiture Parade in 1968.

Hailing from a family of warriors, General Singh is a third generation soldier. His grandfather served in the 1/67 Punjab Regiment during the First World War in Mesopotamia and Kut-al-Amara - both in present day Iraq - along with the 103rd, 105th, 110th, 114th and 117th Mahrattas. These five battalions subsequently joined the Maratha Light Infantry, the same regiment General Singh was commissioned into 50 years later. His father, Colonel Jaswant Singh Marwah (Retd), served in the Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (EME) from 1943 to 1973 and is also a veteran of the Second World War.

During his tenure with the 7th and 9th Maratha LI and also while on higher command & staff appointments, General Singh has served in Jammu & Kashmir, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Joshimath in Uttarakhand. He was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal during his command tenure of the 9 Maratha Light Infantry in Arunachal Pradesh. He later commanded the 5th Maratha LI at Hyderabad in the rank of Colonel. A consistent front runner, he was the youngest and one of the first in his batch to attend Staff College, Senior Command, Higher Command and National Defence College courses.He has contributed articles for regimental and other professional journals and his thesis on 'Sino-Indian Border Dispute' and 'Strategy to Boost Defence Exports' have been highly acclaimed. He has the honour of being India's first Defence Attaché to Algeria (1987 - 1990).

After returning from Algeria, General Singh successfully commanded the 79th (Independent) Mountain Brigade in the Baramula Sector, Jammu & Kashmir, during the peak of insurgency there in 1991-92.During this tenure, he was gravely wounded in action leading from the front, in a fierce engagement with terrorists infiltrating across the Line of Control (LoC).For that operation, he received the War Wound Medal and was awarded the Chief of Army Staff's Commendation. He was nominated to attend the prestigious National Defence College (NDC) course in 1993.He was posted as Deputy Director General Operational Logistics in Army HQ after the NDC Course and later commanded the 9th Infantry Division from 1996 to 1998.

General Singh was then selected for a key appointment as the Additional Director General Military Operations (ADGMO) at Army HQ, Military Operations Directorate. During his tenure as ADGMO, he contributed positively towards evolving India's policy on the Sino-Indian border issue and visited Beijing as part of the Joint Working Group. He was also part of the Ministry of Defence team for talks with Pakistan on the Siachen and Sir Creek issue in 1998. He also visited Sierra Leone with the Defence Minister, where an Indian contingent carried out successful operations as part of the UN Mission. As the ADGMO, he became the Indian Army's public face during the 1999 Kargil conflict. He was decorated with the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in recognition of his services in the planning and execution of the war.

General Singh assumed command of the elite 1 'Strike' Corps at Mathura. He successfully coordinated the corps level exercise - Poorna Vijay - in May 2001 in the deserts of Rajasthan. He subsequently led 1 Corps during Operation Parakram - the military standoff against Pakistan - from December 2001 to December 2002. He was then appointed as the GOC-in-C of the Army Training Command (ARTRAC) in January 2003, where he was credited with drafting a new doctrine for the Indian Army. He was instrumental in giving ARTRAC a distinctly discernable and widely appreciated thrust towards modernisation. After his stint at ARTRAC he stated, "Every assignment has its own importance, but the one at ARTRAC, the think-tank of the Army, has been quite different as it plays a crucial role in preparing the Army for future challenges in a constantly changing battlefield milieu. The responsibility involved development of new concepts and doctrines at the strategic and operational levels for the emerging security environment, besides framing of the training policy and providing training support to the Army in all its facets." He was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal on 26 January 2004 for his distinguished services.

General Singh took over as the GOC-in-C Western Command on 01 February 2004 and his tenure at this elite Command, provided an opportunity to put into practice the concepts & doctrines evolved at ARTRAC and he refined operational planning by co-opting the battle winning role of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and provided focused direction based on the recently released 'Doctrine for the Indian Army' having earlier been its architect. He simultaneously gave training a visionary direction in conjunction with principles of synergetic cohesiveness at all levels. His tenure at Western Command also saw a quantum leap in the implementation of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS). He was also appointed as Honorary Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the President of India on 01 February 2004.

On assuming the office of the Chief of Army Staff on 31 January 2005, General Singh stated in a message, "We stand poised at a critical juncture in the timeline of history. Having left behind us the vagaries of the past, we purposefully stride towards economic growth, social harmony, peace and prosperity. Simultaneously and seamlessly, we are also making the transition to a highly motivated and modern Army, driven by the engines of high technology and Revolution in Military Affairs. I assure our countrymen that the Army will remain at the service of the nation, at all times, ready and eager to take on any challenge with determination and resolve to emerge victorious." He is widely considered to be a thinking soldier and is a through professional.

Affectionately known as General JJ within army circles, he was appointed Colonel of the Maratha Light Infantry on 10 October 2001. He is an ace shooter and plays basketball, squash and golf. He is also a keen mountaineer who has trained under the late Tenzing Norgay at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling. He is married to Mrs Anupama Singh and they have a son and a daughter. He is fluent in both Arabic and French, the widely spoken languages in Algeria. He retired on 30 September 2007, after completing more than 43 years of service to the Indian Army and the nation.