V. K. Singh
General (Retd.) Vijay Kumar Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC, MP (born 10 May 1951) is an Indian politician and a retired four star general in the Indian Army. Since May 30, 2019; he has served as the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways in the Government of India. Prior to this, he served as Minister of State for External Affairs in the First Modi Ministry, as well as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of the North-Eastern Region.
During his military career, Singh served as the 24th Chief of the Army Staff from 2010 to 2012. He became the first serving Indian military Chief of Staff to take the Government of India to court, with regard to a dispute over his date of birth and subsequent retirement.
After his retirement from the military, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014 and was elected Member of Parliament of the Lok Sabha in the Indian general elections, 2014; from the Ghaziabad constituency of Uttar Pradesh. He was re-elected in 2019.
He has written an autobiography, Courage and Conviction.
Early life and education
Vijay Kumar Singh was born in Bapora village, Bhiwani district, Haryana. His father was a Colonel in the Indian Army and grandfather a Junior Commissioned Officer. Singh was educated at Birla Public School, Pilani, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. He is also an alumnus of National Defence Academy (India).
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.
Singh is experienced in both counter-insurgency and high-altitude operations. He also saw action as a young Lieutenant in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 while serving as an intelligence officer of 2 Rajput. 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.
- Military Operations Directorate at the Army Headquarters.
- Served as CO 2 Rajput, the battalion he was commissioned in.
- Served as the Colonel General Staff (Col GS) of 12 Infantry Division
- Commanded the 168 Infantry brigade at Samba.
- Brigadier General Staff (BGS) of Jalandhar based XI 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 the Victor Force, part of the Rashtriya Rifles.
- Commanded Ambala-based II Corps.
- Commanded the Army's Eastern Command.
Singh became the 24th Chief of Army Staff on 31 March 2010, and was the first commando to achieve that position. 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. As a consequence of an error made when he had enrolled with the National Defence Academy in 1965, official records misstated the year in which he was born. He withdrew the writ in February 2012 when, according to The Hindu, the Supreme Court of India "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.
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.
Subsequent to his retirement from the military, Singh showed support for the anti-corruption movement. He was seen on the stage in August 2012 at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi, where Ramdev was fasting in protest of alleged black money and corruption. 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." Around that time he also compared the movement, whose principal figurehead was Anna Hazare, to that of the Bihar Movement that had been led by Jayaprakash Narayan in 1975. He said that "When I evaluate the country's present condition, it is similar to that of 1975. Jayaprakash Narayan had then said Vacate the throne, common people are coming. He felt then that corruption is the root of all problems ... the situation in the country is the same today".
Singh joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on 1 March 2014. 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. He was re-elected in a landslide during the 2019 Indian general election.
In May 2014, Singh was appointed as Minister of State of External Affairs and Minister of state (independent charge) for North East Region in the NDA-led Indian Government. He was relieved of responsibility for the North East Region in November 2014, when Jitendra Singh replaced him. He has held the office of Minister of State (Independent Charge) under the Statistics and Programme Implementation portfolio in the NDA government.
Singh is praised for leading Operation Raahat, a rescue mission to evacuate Indian citizens and other foreign nationals from Yemen during 2015 Yemeni Crisis. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015 said, “I believe this is the first time in the world that a government minister has stood on the battlefield like a soldier to do this work ... I salute General V. K. Singh.”
Honours and awards
V. K. Singh won the following awards during his career:
- Param Vishisht Seva Medal
- Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
- Yudh Seva Medal for his distinguished service during Operation Pawan
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.
Dates of rank
|Insignia||Rank||Component||Date of rank|
|Second Lieutenant||Indian Army||14 June 1970|
|Lieutenant||Indian Army||14 June 1972|
|Captain||Indian Army||14 June 1976|
|Major||Indian Army||14 June 1983|
|Lieutenant-Colonel||Indian Army||1 November 1991|
|Colonel||Indian Army||1 February 1993|
|Brigadier||Indian Army||4 June 1999|
|Major General||Indian Army||29 June 2004|
|Lieutenant-General||Indian Army||1 October 2006|
|Indian Army||1 April 2010|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vijay Kumar Singh.|
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 16 October 1971. p. 1209.
- Mohan, Raman (24 January 2010). "Bapoda village basks in Gen VK Singh's glory". Chandigarh: The Tribune. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- Dutta, Sujan (30 July 2011). "Generation shift in air force". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- "Gen VK Singh battles odds, becomes 26th army chief". DNA. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- "Change of Guard - General VK Singh new COAS". Sainik Samachar. 10 April 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Did you know: Gen VK Singh is a small time movie star!". First Post. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "When the army chief did a cameo in Bollywood". India Today. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Gen V K Singh takes over as Army Chief". India Strategic. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
- "Gen V K Singh takes over as Army Chief". India Strategic. March 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- Gokhale, Nitin A. (26 March 2012). "Details of who allegedly offered Rs. 14-crore bribe to Army chief". NDTV. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- Venkatesan, J. (10 February 2012). "Army Chief loses age war". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- "India's corruption scandals". BBC.
- "Gen. V.K. Singh to retire today". =The Hindu. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "V.K. Singh: throw the corrupt out of power". 4 August 2012.
- Ali, Mohammad (13 August 2014). "Ramdev takes on Congress, warns of march to Parliament". The Hindu.
- "VK Singh now battles with Baba Ramdev". Zee News. ANI. 12 August 2012.
- "V K Singh, Baba Ramdev named in FIR for violence at Jantar Mantar". Financial Express. PTI. 24 December 2012.
- "V K Singh, Ramdev named in FIR for violence at Jantar Mantar". Times of India. 24 December 2012.
- "Former Army Chief Gen. V K Singh joins BJP along with other Officers". Bihar Prabha. IANS. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
- Sinha, Arunav (16 May 2014). "Former chief of Army staff General (retired) VK Singh defeats Raj Babbar of Congress by 567260 votes to register a win at Ghaziabad". The Times of India. TNN. Archived from the original on 15 January 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
- "List of ministers in Narendra Modi's government". Economic Times. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- Sharma, Aman (11 November 2014). "What went wrong? VK Singh lost Doner to MoS for personnel Jitendra Singh". Economic Times. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "India begins evacuating citizens". The Hindu. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Presstitutes remark row: PM Narendra Modi says media ignoring V K Singh's good work in Yemen". Indian Express. 19 April 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- "PM Modi allocates portfolios. Full list of new ministers", Live Mint, 31 May 2019
- "Gen. V.K. Singh is new Chief of the Army Staff". The Hindu. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- "V. K. Singh: the veteran of wars who lost the age battle". Daily Bhaskar. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 9 September 1972. p. 1313.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 4 December 1976. p. 1662.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 6 March 1993. p. 379.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 14 May 1994. p. 939.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 3 January 2004. p. 20.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 2 September 2006. p. 1208.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 7 April 2007. p. 567.
- "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Army Branch)". The Gazette of India. 28 August 2010. p. 1492.
- General V. K. Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC in the Indian Army official website
| Chief of Army Staff
31 March 2010–31 May 2012
K S Jamwal
| General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command
1 March 2008 - 31 March 2010
|| General Officer Commanding II Corps
| Member of Parliament
2009 – Present
Rao Inderjit Singh
(Minister of State with
| Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation
(Minister of State with
10 November 2014 – 5 July 2016
D. V. Sadananda Gowda