COAS Rajendra Chhetri conferred insignia ( With Bio)

Posted: September 10, 2015 in By Deepak Kharel

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Kathmandu: President Ram Baran Yadav conferred insignia to newly appointed Chief of Army Staffs Rajendra Chhetri amid a function at President Residence at Sheetal Niwas in the capital on Thursday.
On the occasion, President Yadav, also the supreme commander of the Nepal Army, also administered Chhetri the oath of office.
Later, in the army headquarters, Chhetri also took charge as 42th chief of the army.
Earlier on August 13, the cabinet meeting had decided to promote Chhetri to the army chief.

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About COAS Chhetri

General Rajendra Chhetri was born in Dudhekuna, in the Himalayan foothills of Chisapani VDC, Tanahun District, Nepal, on 15 November 1960. He is the second son of late Colonel Gopal Bahadur Khatri Chhetri and Mrs. Pramila Khatri Chhetri. He was commissioned into the Rajdal (Artillery) Battalion, Nepalese Army, in 1978 from the then Royal Nepalese Military Academy, Kharipati.
A qualified Paratrooper, Gen Chhetri is a graduate of the Nepalese Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare, Junior Staff, Company Commander and Battalion Commander Courses. Additionally, he has also received Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery training in the early years of his service from India, Pakistan and China. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, USA (1992). He subsequently undertook the Unit Commanders’ Course from the School of Army Air Defense, Pakistan and is a qualified Psychological Testing Office from the Defense Institute of Psychological Research, New Delhi, India.
Gen Chhetri is a graduate of the United States Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania (2010). He has attend various professional seminars and workshops at the international level, including the Executive Seminar in the Near East the South Asia Center at the National Defense University, Washington DC and the Seminar on Defense Decision Making in the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California, USA. He holds two Masters Degrees – in History from Tribhuwan University, Nepal and in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Gen Chhetri has some 36 years of military experience, with service during both peace and conflict, in Nepal and abroad. He has commanded at every level – No.4 Air Defense Battery, Jagadal (Air Defense) Battalion, No. 7 (Infantry) Brigade, No.3 (Infantry) Brigade and as GOC Mid Division. During his command tenure, the Mid Division was declared the champion Division and won the coveted COAS Trophy.
Gen Chhetri has also held key staff billets at all levels, including as Brigade Major of No. 1 Brigade and Assistant Chief of Staff (Operations) at Mid Division HQ. At Army HQ, he has served in the Research and Development Directorate, Inspector General Department, Operations Branch, Military Secretary Branch, as Director of Recruiting and Selections and as Military Assistant to Chief of the Army Staff. He has also served in the National Security Council Secretariat as a Staff Officer. He recently completed tenures as Quarter Master General, Director General of Military Training, Chief of Staff and Chief of General Staff.
Gen Chhetri’s vast international peacekeeping experiences include service in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in 1985 as a Platoon Commander; the United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1988 to 1989 as a Military Observer; and in the UN mandated Multi National Forces, Haiti and subsequent United Nations Mission in Haiti in 1995 as Zone II Operations Officer. He also served as a Strategic Planning Officer of the Military Division of Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations HQ, New York from 2002 to 2005.
Gen Chhetri has been decorated with the Trishakti Patta Class IV and the Gorkha Dakshin Bahu Class IV. He has been conferred with the COAS Commendation Badge and several other national medals. He has also been awarded two US Army Achievement medals and four different UN medals for service in various UN Missions.
Gen Chhetri is married to Mrs Rita Chhetri and they are blessed with two sons – Abhishek and Abhushan; two daughters in law – Vidisha and Ashmita and a granddaughter, Aryani. His hobbies include trekking, travelling and reading.

Challenges ahead for COAS
By : Lekhanath Pandey ( THT)

coas-responsibility-handoveRight after his succession, Chhetri would face daunting challenges in reorienting and revamping the two-and-a-half century old institution.

Geja Sharma Wagle, a security analyst, says Chhetri’s tenure would be more challenging than his predecessors. “He had to deploy army [in parts of Tarai] even before becoming a full-fledged army chief,” Wagle observed.

Playing a supportive role in the political transition, reconstructing quake damaged infrastructures, framing a national security policy and restructuring the NA are among the key tasks that Gen Chettri would have to brace for immediately after he takes charge as the new army chief.

His recent predecessors –Rukmangad Katawal, Chhatra Man Singh Gurung and Rana — focused more on transitory tasks, except integration of the Maoist combatants. They skipped the issue of formulating national security policy and NA restructuring in absence of a permanent constitution.

However, the new army chief wouldn’t have that convenience. Now, the statute making is in its final stage and right after its promulgation the NA would have to work with Parliament, political leadership and policy planners to formulate a comprehensive national security policy and restructure the army accordingly.

“The shape and outlook of the NA in future would depend on how the army headquarters works with the Singha Durbar and Parliament,” said retired Lt Gen Balananda Sharma.

Gen Chhetri also seems aware of the challenges ahead. “The Nepali Army is quite aware its responsibility,” he told The Himalayan Times. “We will work with Parliament and the government to redesign NA’s structure and frame a national security policy accordingly.”

He said the strength of the national army might not remain the same under the federal setup. “NA’s focus would be on “right-sizing” the force,” he said.

In recent years, NA had begun ‘bunker-to-barracks’ policy to relocate troops from under-ground bunkers to buildings.

After the April 25 earthquake damaged over 30 percent of its barracks, many soldiers have been forced to live in tents and return to bunkers. Chhetri has to take a lead in relocating them from tents and bunkers to resilience barracks.

The government has yet to formally seek the army’s help for post-quake reconstruction. But, the NA is the only proven national institution that can perform the task in remote locations. If the government formally seeks army’s help, the new leadership will have to fulfill that responsibility as well.

Bidding farewell to Rana on Monday, Chhetri said he would give continuity to positive initiatives taken by his predecessor, such as the 10-year plan to modernise the national force.

Nevertheless, many view he would have to correct some policy decisions taken by Rana, such as fast-track promotion of NA personnel, which drew flak from within and outside the NA.

Born in 1960 in Tanahun, Chhetri joined the NA in 1977 as a second lieutenant. During his 37-year military career, he worked intensively both during peace and conflict at home and abroad. Many consider him a good military strategist. But now all eyes are on him on how he leads the national army and tackles the tremendous challenges of NA restructuring as soon as he assumes office.

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