Chief of the Army Staff (India)

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Chief of the Army Staff
Flag COAS.svg
Flag of the Chief of the Army Staff
General Bipin Rawat

since 31 December 2016
Seat Central Secretariat
Appointer The President of India
Term length 3 years or at the age of 62, whichever is earlier.
Precursor Commander-in-Chief, Indian Army
Formation 1 April 1955
First holder General Rajendrasinhji Jadeja

The Chief of the Army Staff is the commander and usually the highest-ranking officer of the Indian Army. The position is abbreviated as COAS in Indian Army, and usually held by a four-star officer in the rank of General.

The current COAS is General Bipin Rawat, who took office on 31 December 2016 following the retirement of General Dalbir Singh.[1]

Office of the Chief of the Army Staff[edit]

The office of the Chief of the Army Staff was created through The Commanders-In-Chief (Change in Designation) Act of the Indian Parliament in 1955. It replaced the erstwhile office of the Commander-in-Chief, Army.[2] The office is based at South Block of the Central Secretariat at Raisina Hill, New Delhi.

Appointments to the office are made by the President of India. The COAS reaches superannuation upon three years in the office or at the age of 62, whichever is earlier.


The following table chronicles the appointees to the office of the Chief of the Army Staff or its preceding positions since the independence of India.[3]

Commander-in-Chief, Indian Army (1947–1955)[edit]

( *Seconded from the British Army )

No. Name Rank Photo Appointment Date Left Office Unit of Commission Decorations
1 Rob Lockhart* General General Sir Mcgregor Macdonald Lockhart.jpg 15 August 1947 31 December 1947 51st Sikhs KCB, CIE, MC
2 Roy Bucher* General General Sir Francis Robert Roy Bucher.jpg 1 January 1948 15 January 1949 Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) KBE, CB, MC
3 K M Cariappa General (later Field Marshal) Field Marshal KM Cariappa.jpg 16 January 1949 14 January 1953 Rajput Regiment OBE
4 Rajendrasinhji Jadeja General Gen Maharaj Shri Rajendrasinhji Jadeja.jpg 14 January 1953 1 April 1955 2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse) DSO[4]

Chief of the Army Staff (1955–present)[edit]

No. Name Rank Photo Appointment Date Left Office Unit of Commission Decorations
1 Rajendrasinhji Jadeja General Gen Maharaj Shri Rajendrasinhji Jadeja.jpg 1 April 1955 14 May 1955 2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse) DSO
2 S M Shrinagesh General 15 May 1955 7 May 1957 19th Hyderabad Regiment (now Kumaon Regiment)
3 K S Thimayya General Gen K S Thimayya.jpg 8 May 1957 7 May 1961 19th Hyderabad Regiment (now Kumaon Regiment) Padma Bhushan, DSO, ADC
4 P N Thapar General Gen P N Thapar.jpg 8 May 1961 19 November 1962 1st Punjab Regiment
5 J N Chaudhuri General Gen J N Chaudhuri.jpg 20 November 1962 7 June 1966 7th Light Cavalry Padma Vibhushan, OBE
6 P P Kumaramangalam General Gen P P Kumaramangalam.jpg 8 June 1966 7 June 1969 Regiment of Artillery Padma Vibhushan, DSO, MBE
7 S H F J Manekshaw General (later Field Marshal) 8 June 1969 15 January 1973 54th Sikhs (Frontier Force) Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, MC
8 G G Bewoor General Gen G G Bewoor.jpg 16 January 1973 31 May 1975 Dogra Regiment PVSM
9 T N Raina General Gen T N Raina.jpg 1 June 1975 31 May 1978 Kumaon Regiment Padma Bhushan, MVC
10 O P Malhotra General Gen O P Malhotra.jpg 1 June 1978 31 May 1981 Regiment of Artillery PVSM
11 K V Krishna Rao General Gen K V Krishna Rao.jpg 1 June 1981 31 July 1983 Mahar Regiment PVSM
12 A S Vaidya General Gen A S Vaidya.jpg 1 August 1983 31 January 1985 9th Deccan Horse Padma Vibhushan, PVSM, MVC (Bar), AVSM
13 Krishnaswamy Sundarji General Gen K Sundarji.jpg 1 February 1985 31 May 1988 Mahar Regiment PVSM, ADC
14 V N. Sharma General Gen V N Sharma.jpg 1 June 1988 30 June 1990 16th Light Cavalry PVSM, AVSM, ADC
15 S F Rodrigues General Gen S F Rodrigues.jpg 1 July 1990 30 June 1993 Regiment of Artillery PVSM, VSM
16 B C Joshi General Gen B C Joshi.jpg 1 July 1993 19 November 1994 64th Cavalry PVSM, AVSM, ADC
17 S Roy Chowdhury General Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhary.jpg 20 November 1994 30 September 1997 20th Lancers PVSM, ADC
18 V P Malik General General VP Malik.png 1 October 1997 30 September 2000 Sikh Light Infantry PVSM, AVSM, ADC
19 Sundararajan Padmanabhan General General Padmanabhan.png 1 October 2000 31 December 2002 Regiment of Artillery PVSM, AVSM,VSM, ADC
20 N C Vij General General Vij.png 1 January 2003 31 January 2005 Dogra Regiment PVSM, UYSM, AVSM
21 J J Singh General General JJ Singh.png 1 February 2005 30 September 2007 Maratha Light Infantry PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC
22 Deepak Kapoor General General Deepak Kapoor.jpg 1 October 2007 31 March 2010 Regiment of Artillery PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC
23 V K Singh General VK singh.jpg 1 April 2010 31 May 2012 Rajput Regiment PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC
24 Bikram Singh General Gen Bikram Singh.jpg 1 June 2012 31 July 2014 Sikh Light Infantry


25 Dalbir Singh General Gen Dalbir Singh, COAS.jpg 1 August 2014 31 December 2016 5 Gorkha Rifles PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC
26 Bipin Rawat General GEN BIPIN RAWAT.jpg 31 December 2016 Current 11 Gorkha Rifles UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lt Gen Bipin Rawat to be the next Army chief - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  2. ^ "The Commanders-In-Chief (Change in Designation) Act, 1955". Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Chief of the Army Staff". Indian Army. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-06.