Chief of the Army Staff (India)

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Chief of the Army Staff
Flag COAS India.jpg
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 Sir Robert McGregor Macdonald Lockhart* General General Sir Mcgregor Macdonald Lockhart.jpg 15 August 1947 31 December 1947 Infantry - 51 Sikhs Frontier Force KCB, CIE, MC
2 Sir Francis Robert Roy Bucher* General General Sir Francis Robert Roy Bucher.jpg 1 January 1948 15 January 1949 Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) KBE, CB, MC
3 Kodandera Madappa Cariappa General (later Field Marshal) Field Marshal KM Cariappa.jpg 16 January 1949 14 January 1953 Infantry - Rajput Regiment OBE
4 Maharaj Shri Rajendrasinhji Jadeja General Gen Maharaj Shri Rajendrasinhji Jadeja.jpg 14 January 1953 1 April 1955 Armoured Corps, 2nd Lancers DSO[4]

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

No. Name Rank Photo Appointment Date Left Office Unit of Commission Decorations
1 Maharaj Shri Rajendrasinhji Jadeja General Gen Maharaj Shri Rajendrasinhji Jadeja.jpg 1 April 1955 14 May 1955 Armoured Corps, 2nd Lancers DSO
2 Satyawant Mallannah Shrinagesh General 15 May 1955 7 May 1957 Infantry - 19th Hyderabad Regiment (Now Kumaon Regiment)
3 Kodendera Subayya Thimayya General Gen K S Thimayya.jpg 8 May 1957 7 May 1961 Infantry - 19th Hyderabad Regiment (Now Kumaon Regiment) Padma Bhushan, DSO, ADC[5]
4 Pran Nath Thapar General Gen P N Thapar.jpg 8 May 1961 19 November 1962 Infantry - 1st Punjab Regiment[6]
5 Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri General Gen J N Chaudhuri.jpg 20 November 1962 7 June 1966 Armoured Corps, 16th Light Cavalry and 7th Light Cavalry Padma Vibhushan, OBE
6 Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam General Gen P P Kumaramangalam.jpg 8 June 1966 7 June 1969 Regiment of Artillery Padma Vibhushan, DSO, MBE
7 Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw General (later Field Marshal) 8 June 1969 15 January 1973 Infantry - 8 Gorkha Rifles Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, MC[7]
8 Gopal Gurunath Bewoor General Gen G G Bewoor.jpg 16 January 1973 31 May 1975 Infantry - 11 Gorkha Rifles and Dogra PVSM
9 Tapishwar Narain Raina General Gen T N Raina.jpg 1 June 1975 31 May 1978 Infantry - Kumaon Regiment Padma Bhushan, MVC
10 Om Prakash Malhotra General Gen O P Malhotra.jpg 1 June 1978 31 May 1981 Regiment of Artillery PVSM
11 Kotikalapudi Venkata Krishna Rao General Gen K V Krishna Rao.jpg 1 June 1981 31 July 1983 Infantry - Mahar Regiment PVSM
12 Arun Shridhar Vaidya General Gen A S Vaidya.jpg 1 August 1983 31 January 1985 Armoured Corps, Deccan Horse Padma Vibhushan, PVSM, MVC(Bar), AVSM
13 Krishnaswamy Sundarji General Gen K Sundarji.jpg 1 February 1985 31 May 1988 Infantry - Mahar Regiment PVSM, ADC
14 Vishwa Nath Sharma General Gen V N Sharma.jpg 1 June 1988 30 June 1990 Armoured Corps, 16th Light Cavalry PVSM, AVSM, ADC
15 Sunith Francis Rodrigues General Gen S F Rodrigues.jpg 1 July 1990 30 June 1993 Regiment of Artillery PVSM, VSM
16 Bipin Chandra Joshi General Gen B C Joshi.jpg 1 July 1993 19 November 1994 Armoured Corps, 64 Cavalry PVSM, AVSM, ADC
17 Shankar Roy Chowdhury General Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhary.jpg 20 November 1994 30 September 1997 Armoured Corps, 20th Lancers PVSM, ADC
18 Ved Prakash Malik General General VP Malik.png 1 October 1997 30 September 2000 Infantry - 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 Nirmal Chander Vij General General Vij.png 1 January 2003 31 January 2005 Infantry - Dogra Regiment PVSM, UYSM, AVSM
21 Joginder Jaswant Singh General General JJ Singh.png 1 February 2005 30 September 2007 Infantry - 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 Vijay Kumar Singh General VK singh.jpg 1 April 2010 31 May 2012 Infantry - Rajput Regiment PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC
24 Bikram Singh General Gen Bikram Singh.jpg 1 June 2012 31 July 2014 Infantry - Sikh Light Infantry


25 Dalbir Singh Suhag General Gen Dalbir Singh, COAS.jpg 1 August 2014 31 December 2016 Infantry - 5 Gorkha Rifles PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC
26 Bipin Rawat General 31 December 2016 Current Infantry - 11 Gorkha Rifles UYSM, AVSM, YSM, SM, VSM[9]

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. 
  5. ^ Gen K.S. Thimayya was commissioned and first attached to the 2nd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry with status "Unattached List Indian Army". Later he joined the 4th Battalion 19th Hyderabad Regiment, which became his parent battalion. The 19th Hyderabad Regiment later became the Kumaon Regiment after India gained independence.Khanduri, Chandra B.(2006)
  6. ^ Entry on Gen P.N. Thapar at the Official Indian Army Website. Accessed 2 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Government of India". 
  8. ^ "Bikram Singh assumes charge as new Army chief". The Times of India. 
  9. ^ "Appointment of General Rawat as Army Chief Unleashes Political War". The Quint.