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India appoints General Anil Chauhan, a senior military officer, to serve as its defense chief

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The Indian government said on Wednesday that it had named Anil Chauhan as its new defense chief, succeeding Bipin Rawat, who died along with 13 others in a helicopter crash in December.

Chauhan, 61, served as lieutenant general and commanded the eastern division of the Indian army before retiring in May 2021.

Once he assumes office, he will also serve as secretary of the department of military affairs, according to a government statement.

His appointment follows months of uncertainty about who would serve as India’s defense minister, while tensions remain high along the country’s borders with China and Pakistan.
Rawat was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defense Staff by the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in late 2019.

Rawat, his wife, and twelve military men were enroute to a military staff college in southern India when their air force helicopter crashed.