Vijay Kumar Singh

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Vijay Kumar Singh
VK singh.jpg
Minister of State for External Affairs
Assumed office
26 May 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Preceded by E. Ahamed
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region
Assumed office
26 May 2014
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Personal details
Born 10 May 1951
Khadki Military Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra,India
Military service
Allegiance  India
Service/branch  Indian Army
Years of service 1970–2012
Rank General of the Indian Army.svg General
Unit Rajputs.JPG Rajput Regiment
Commands GOC-in-C Eastern Command
GOC Kharga Corps
GOC XI Corps
GOC Rashtriya Rifles
Commander Infantry brigade
CO 2 Rajput (Kali Chindi)
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1971,
Operation Pawan
Awards Param Vishisht Seva Medal Ribbon.jpg Param Vishisht Seva Medal
Ati-Vishisht-Seva-Medal-ribbon.jpg Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
Yudh Seva Medal Ribbon.jpg Yudh Seva Medal

General Vijay Kumar Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM (retired) (born 10 May 1951) is an Indian politician and the Minister of State of External Affairs and Minister of state (independent charge) for North East Region,[1] in the National Democratic Alliance government that was elected in the Indian general elections, 2014. He gained his seat in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India, in those elections, defeating the actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar in the Ghaziabad constituency of Uttar Pradesh by a record 567,000 votes, the second-highest margin of victory after Narendra Modi.

Singh was previously a military officer, serving as the 24th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. He was the first commando to be promoted to the rank of General and was also the first serving Indian military chief to take the Government of India to court. In 2014, after his retirement from the military, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He has written Courage and Conviction: An Autobiography.

Early life and education[edit]

Vijay Kumar Singh was born in a Rajput family[2] at Bapora village, Bhiwani district, in the Indian state of Haryana. His father was a Colonel in the Indian Army and grandfather a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO). Singh was educated at Birla Public School, Pilani, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.[3]

Military career[edit]

Singh was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion of the Rajput Regiment (Kali Chindi) on 14 June 1970. He commanded the same unit when it was positioned along the Line of Control with Pakistan.[4]

He graduated from the Defence Services Staff College. He was an honours graduate of the United States Army Infantry School, a graduate of the Rangers Course at Fort Benning and the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.[5]

Singh is experienced in both counter-insurgency and high-altitude operations. He also saw action in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. During his career he has served in various positions:

  • Instructor in the Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) headquarters in Bhutan.
  • Instructor at Infantry School twice and Chief Instructor at JLW (Commando Wing), Belgaum.[6][7][8]
  • Commanded an Infantry brigade.[6][9]
  • Military Operations Directorate at the Army Headquarters.
  • Brigadier General Staff of a Corps during Operation Parakram when Indian troops were mobilised on the border in the wake of the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001.
  • Commanded Ambala-based 2 Corps and Jalandhar-based 11 Corps.
  • Commanded the army's Eastern Command.

He became the 24th Chief of Army Staff on 31 March 2010, and was the first commando to achieve that position.[10] Towards the end of his career there was a dispute regarding his date of birth, causing him to become the first serving officer of the Indian Army to take the government to court.[11] As a consequence of an error made when he had enrolled with the National Defence Academy in 1965, official records mis-stated the year in which he was born. He withdrew the writ in February 2012 when, according to The Hindu, the Supreme Court "refused to intervene". The Court noted that there was no dispute regarding his actual date of birth and that the matter being contested was regarding how that had been recorded. It ruled that Singh had on three occasions accepted the misrecorded date.[12]

The BBC noted in 2012 that defence experts considered a drive to modernise the Indian army had suffered from "a lack of planning and acrimony between the military and the defence ministry". This report followed an interview given by Singh in March 2012 that had caused a political row. Singh said that over a year earlier he had reported to A. K. Antony. the defence minister, that he had been offered a bribe of US$2.7 million if the army bought several hundred sub-standard vehicles. Antony issued a rebuttal to the interview, saying that he had requested at the time that Singh provide a written report regarding the incident and that this had never been submitted. Two days after the interview with Singh, correspondence between the general and the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, was leaked. This criticised the standard of India's defences and caused a further political row.[13]

Singh retired as Chief of Army Staff on 31 May 2012. He was succeeded by General Bikram Singh.[14]


Singh with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi (right), 2014.

Subsequent to his retirement from the military, Singh showed support for the anti-corruption movement.[15] Singh was seen on the stage at Ramdev's fast against the black money and corruption at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi, in August 2012. He was reported to have declared that "It is shocking but true that over two lakh farmers have committed suicide since 1995. The problems of farmers will have to take the forefront in this movement as the government has turned a blind eye to their woes."[16] Around that time he also compared the movement, whose principal figurehead was Anna Hazare, to that of Jayaprakash Narayan's Bihar Movement of 1975. He said that "When I evaluate the country's present condition, it is similar to that of 1975. Jayaprakash Narayan had then said Singhaasan Chodo Janta Aati Hai. He felt then that corruption is the root of all problems ... the situation in the country is the same today".[17]

Singh led an agitation with Ramdev on 23 December 2012, at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, on the 2012 Delhi gang rape case[18][19]

Singh joined the Bhartiya Janata Party on 1 March 2014.[20] He won the Ghaziabad Lok Sabha constituency seat in the 2014 Indian general election, defeating Raj Babbar of the Indian National Congress by a margin of 567,260 votes.[21]

He currently holds the office of Minister of State (Independent Charge) under the portfolio 'development of North Eastern Region' [22] in the NDA government.

Honours and awards[edit]

V. K. Singh won the following awards during his career:[23]

During his service as the COAS, V. K. Singh was appointed Honorary Aide-De-Camp to the President of India. He was the Colonel of The Rajput Regiment to which he belonged and also Honorary Colonel of The Brigade of Guards, by virtue of being the Army Chief.

On 11 March 2011, Singh was inducted into the United States Army War College (Class of 2001 graduate) International Fellows Hall of Fame. He is the 33rd International Fellow and the first Indian Armed Forces officer to be inducted.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "List of ministers in Narendra Modi's government". Economic Times. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  2. ^ Pandey, Brijesh (7 April 2012). "One-Man Army?". Tehelka magazine, vol 9, issue 14. Tehelka. Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  3. ^ Mohan, Raman (24 January 2010). "Bapoda village basks in Gen VK Singh’s glory". Chandigarh: The Tribune. Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  4. ^ Dutta, Sujan (30 July 2011). "Generation shift in air force". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  5. ^ "Gen VK Singh battles odds, becomes 26th army chief". DNA. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  6. ^ a b "Change of Guard - General VK Singh new COAS". Sainik Samachar. 10 April 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Did you know: Gen VK Singh is a small time movie star!". First Post. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "When the army chief did a cameo in Bollywood". India Today. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Gen V K Singh takes over as Army Chief". India Strategic. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Gen V K Singh takes over as Army Chief". India Strategic. March 2010. Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  11. ^ Gokhale, Nitin A. (26 March 2012). "Details of who allegedly offered Rs. 14-crore bribe to Army chief". NDTV. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  12. ^ Venkatesan, J. (10 February 2012). "Army Chief loses age war". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  13. ^ "India's corruption scandals". BBC. 
  14. ^ "Gen. V.K. Singh to retire today". =The Hindu. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  15. ^ "V.K. Singh: throw the corrupt out of power". 4 August 2012. 
  16. ^ Ali, Mohammad (13 August 2014). "Ramdev takes on Congress, warns of march to Parliament". The Hindu. "Social activist Kiran Bedi and the former Army Chief, General (retd.), V. K. Singh, visited Ramlila Maidan on Sunday, extending their support to the yoga guru ... Shifting the focus of the debate to farmers, General Singh termed the government a “property dealer” of farmers’ land. “It is shocking but true that over two lakh farmers have committed suicide since 1995. The problems of farmers will have to take the forefront in this movement as the government has turned a blind eye to their woes,” he said." 
  17. ^ "VK Singh now battles with Baba Ramdev". Zee News. ANI. 12 August 2012. "Comparing the present situation in the country to what that existed in 1975, former army chief General (retired) Singh had earlier on August 3 said rampant corruption is the country's biggest problem. He accused the government of not following the Directive Principles of State Policy as written in the Constitution. Addressing a gathering at the Jantar Mantar here, Singh said: "When I evaluate the country's present condition, it is similar to that of 1975. Jayaprakash Narayan had then said Singhaasan Chodo Janta Aati Hai. He felt then that corruption is the root of all problems." General (retired) Singh then pointed out that the situation in the country is the same today."We are facing problems of inflation and economic slowdown. It appears that there is no governance in the country. The only alternative we have is the one offered by Anna Hazare. Every time you fight the powers that be, they will try to dent the image of the movement," he said. General (retired) Singh had also congratulated Team Anna on their decision to start a political movement, saying it was vital to got involved in the big fight for changing the countrys electoral politics." 
  18. ^ "V K Singh, Baba Ramdev named in FIR for violence at Jantar Mantar". Financial Express. PTI. 24 December 2012. "The former Army Chief had shared dais with Ramdev at Jantar Mantar yesterday and were prevented from marching towards India Gate, the epicentre of the protests.Police sources said the names of Singh and Ramdev were mentioned in the FIR.The FIR gave the sequence of events that led to the clashes between police and protesters. Ramdev and Singh made speeches at the function, according to the FIR.The supporters had clashed with police when they were prevented from marching towards India Gate.After a brief speech at Jantar Mantar yesterday, Ramdev along with Singh and others had started marching towards India Gate but police stopped them. As soon as Ramdev and Singh got down from the dais, police cordoned off the area and the protesters sat at the spot. However, the supporters started marching towards India Gate and tried to break barricades following which police resorted to use of force. Two persons suffered injuries in the melee" 
  19. ^ "V K Singh, Ramdev named in FIR for violence at Jantar Mantar". Times of India. 24 December 2012. "Former Army chief VK Singh and yoga icon Baba Ramdev have been booked by the Delhi Police for inciting mob and provoking crowd at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi" 
  20. ^ "Former Army Chief Gen. V K Singh joins BJP along with other Officers". Bihar Prabha. IANS. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  21. ^ "VK Singh wins Ghaziabad seat by 5.67 lakh votes, creates history". The Times Of India. 16 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "Official Statements : Prime Minister of India". Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  23. ^ "Gen. V.K. Singh is new Chief of the Army Staff". The Hindu. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  24. ^ "V. K. Singh: the veteran of wars who lost the age battle". Daily Bhaskar. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Deepak Kapoor
Chief of Army Staff
Succeeded by
Bikram Singh