V. K. Singh
|Minister of State for Civil Aviation|
|Assumed office |
7 July 2021
|Prime Minister||Narendra Modi|
|Preceded by||Hardeep Singh Puri|
(MoS Independent charge)
|Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways|
|Assumed office |
30 May 2019
|Prime Minister||Narendra Modi|
|Preceded by||Mansukh L. Mandaviya|
|Minister of State for External Affairs|
27 May 2014 – 30 May 2019
|Prime Minister||Narendra Modi|
|Preceded by||E. Ahamed|
|Succeeded by||V. Muraleedharan|
|Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation (Independent charge)|
9 November 2014 – 5 July 2016
|Prime Minister||Narendra Modi|
|Preceded by||Rao Inderjit Singh|
|Succeeded by||D. V. Sadananda Gowda|
|Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (Independent charge)|
27 May 2014 – 9 November 2014
|Prime Minister||Narendra Modi|
|Preceded by||Paban Singh Ghatowar|
|Succeeded by||Jitendra Singh|
|Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha|
|Assumed office |
16 May 2014
|Preceded by||Rajnath Singh|
|23rd Chief of the Army Staff|
31 March 2010 – 31 May 2012
|Prime Minister||Manmohan Singh|
|Preceded by||Deepak Kapoor|
|Succeeded by||Bikram Singh|
|Born||10 May 1950|
Pune, Bombay State, India
|Political party||Bharatiya Janata Party|
|Alma mater||National Defence Academy (BSc)|
Indian Military Academy
Defence Services Staff College (MPhil)
United States Army War College
|Awards|| Param Vishisht Seva Medal|
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
Yudh Seva Medal
|Years of service||14 June 1970 - 31 May 2012|
|Commands|| Chief of Army Staff |
Victor Force, Rashtriya Rifles
168th Infantry Brigade
2 Rajput (Kali Chindi)
|Battles/wars||Indo-Pakistani War of 1971|
General Vijay Kumar Singh, PVSM, AVSM, YSM, ADC (born 10 May 1950)[a] is an Indian politician and a former four-star General in the Indian Army.[b] He is the current Minister of State in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Ministry of Civil Aviation in the Second Modi ministry. He previously served as Minister of State for External Affairs, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of the North-Eastern Region and Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation[c] in the First Modi ministry.
During his military career, Singh served as the 24th[d] Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) from 2010 to 2012. Singh took the Government of India to court in a dispute over his date of birth and subsequent retirement, becoming the first serving Indian Chief of the Army Staff to take legal action against the Indian government.
After his retirement from the military, Singh joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014 and was elected as Member of Parliament to the Lok Sabha for the Ghaziabad constituency of Uttar Pradesh in that year's general election. He was re-elected to the same seat in 2019.
Singh has written an autobiography called Courage and Conviction.[e]
Singh was born on 10 May 1950 to Captain (later Colonel) Jagat Singh, an officer then serving in the 14th battalion The Rajput Regiment of the Indian Army,[f] and Krishna Kumari, at the Military Hospital at Pune. He was born into the Tomar clan of Rajputs,[g] with roots in the Bapora village in the Bhiwani district of Haryana. His paternal grandfather, Daffadar Mukhram Singh, served with the 3rd Cavalry. All five brothers of his father served in the Army, either joining the 1st Horse (Skinner's Horse) or the 7th Rajput Regiment. His maternal grandfather, Subedar Shimbu Singh, also served in the Army and hailed from the Bohra Kalan village in the Gurgaon district. His village had been founded by the Rajput rulers and frequently involved in fighting with the Mughal and has produced many warriors. He was inspired by men who served the Army from the British times.
Singh's mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away in 1952. He was raised by his maternal grandparents before his father remarried and he went to live with them for a few years. At the age of 8, he enrolled at the Birla Public School, a boarding school in Pilani, Rajasthan. He joined the National Cadet Corps during his schooling and served in all three wings.
He qualified in the entrance exam and having filled 'Air Force' as his first choice, he appeared before the No. 1 Air Force Selection Board in Dehradun. He entered the National Defence Academy (NDA) in 1966. A part of the 'HUNTER' squadron, he held a number of cadet appointments at the NDA. He became a Corporal in his fifth term, the battalion cadet captain (BCC) in his sixth term, and officiated as the Academy Cadet Captain (ACC) for a short while. In his fifth term, on the request of his father, he was moved from the Air Force to Army.
After graduating from the NDA, he entered the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in June 1969. He was assigned to 'Cassino' Company at the academy. He was appointed senior under officer (SUO) in his fourth term. He passed out from the IMA in 1970, placed in the top ten in the merit list.
Singh’s career in military lasted 42 years from the year 1970 to 2012. He started his career when he was commissioned in the 2nd Battalion of Rajput Regiment after graduating from Indian Military Academy and retired after serving as the Chief of Army Staff (India). He has been a part of many wars and recipient of many Army honours.
Singh was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion of the Rajput Regiment (Kali Chindi) on 14 June 1970. The battalion was among the oldest in the Indian Army, having been raised in 1798 as 1/16 Bengal Native Infantry. He joined the battalion in Delhi, where it was garrisoned in the Red Fort and the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. He was slotted into 'C' company of the battalion. He attended the Young Officers (YOs) course at the Infantry School in Mhow in November 1970. He completed the course and joined his battalion in early 1971 in Tamulpur in Assam where the battalion had moved. Before the outbreak of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, he was appointed Intelligence Officer (IO) of the battalion. The battalion moved to Meghalaya in mid-1971 and fought the war, entering East Pakistan from the east. Singh served as the IO through the war. He was at that time a junior Officer in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation war and he was at Assam at that time. He was a witness of 1971 Bangladesh genocide by Pakistan Army officers and enlisted soldiers, and described the treatment of the people of Bangladesh by the Pakistan Army as akin to Nazism. He commented:
"The world has forgotten the atrocities committed in Bangladesh. I do not think the people of Bangladesh of that period have forgotten, but the coming generations, probably have found it easier to put it somewhere in the corner"— Singh, Indian Army Records
He was very much inspired by Sam Manekshaw and was a follower of his ideology and learnt leadership from him, after he met him after the War of India and Pakistan in 1971. After the war, the battalion went to Bhutan on a training exercise with the Royal Bhutan Army. In 1973, he was nominated to attend the battalion support weapons course at Mhow. After finishing the course and returning to the battalion, in early 1974, he was again sent to attend the winter warfare course at Gulmarg. In mid-1974, he was posted to the Infantry School as an instructor in the platoon weapons division.
In late 1975, Singh was one of two officers selected to attend the United States Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia in the United States. The Ranger course is 62 days long and is aimed at small unit tactics and leadership. During this course, he was assigned to Whisky company of the 75th Ranger Regiment. He performed well in the physically-extracting course, which started with over 300 students and ended with only about 90 graduating. He was graded an honours graduate since he had graded more than 80%.  Since he was a graduate of the Ranger School, he was permitted to wear the coveted Ranger tab on his uniform.
After completing the course, he returned to India and was posted to the Commando School at Belgaum. After a year at the school, he moved back to his battalion in Secunderabad but was immediately selected to attend the Junior Command course at the College of Combat in Mhow. He finished the course and joined his battalion and was given command of a company. Two months later, he was selected to attend the winter warfare advanced course at the High Altitude Warfare School at Gulmarg.
In April 1978, Singh came back to his battalion which was to move to Poonch for its operational tenure along the Line of Control. He commanded the 'A' company of the battalion during this tenure. Later that year, he was posted to the Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) in Bhutan. He served as an instructor at IMTRAT for about two years. After his return from Bhutan, he was transferred to a new unit, the 25th battalion of the Rajput Regiment (25 Rajput) at Fatehgarh. He was given command of the Delta company of the battalion.
The battalion then moved to Alwar where Singh served as a company commander. In March 1982, he was selected to attend the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, having secured a competitive vacancy. After completing the year-long course, he was posted as General Staff Officer 2 (GSO-2) in the Military Operations (MO) Directorate at Army headquarters. His tenure at the MO directorate was an eventful one. He had a ring-side view during Operation Meghdoot in early 1984, Operation Blue Star later that year, Operation Brasstacks in late 1986 and the 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish in the Sumdorong Chu Valley.
In mid-1987, he joined his battalion as a company commander. In July, as part of the 76 Infantry Brigade, the battalion moved to Chennai and embarked for Sri Lanka on the Tank Landing Ship INS Magar (L20). Inducted as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force, they landed at Trincomalee. He spent the next two years in Sri Lanka fighting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In mid-1988, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was appointed second-in-command of the battalion. On 26 January 1990, he was awarded the Yudh Seva Medal for leading an operation which eliminated 6 LTTE men.
In late 1989, Singh was approved to be promoted to the rank of Colonel and cleared to command a battalion. In early 1990, the battalion embarked for Mumbai. Shortly thereafter, Singh was appointed Chief Instructor of the Commando School at Belgaum, where he had earlier served as an instructor. He was earmarked by the Colonel of the Regiment to take over command of 24 Rajput, but Singh was determined to get back to his old battalion (2 Rajput) or take over the battalion he served with in Sri Lanka (25 Rajput). After a few months, he was appointed Commanding Officer of 2 Rajput. The battalion was in Nowshera, Jammu and Kashmir along the Line of Control. It was a part of the 80 Brigade under the 25th Infantry Division. He commanded the battalion for about two years in Nowshera, before taking the unit to its peace location in Faizabad. The tenure started off in a tense environment - the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992, when the battalion was on the move to Faizabad.
Singh also made a cameo appearance in the 1991 Hindi film Prahaar: The Final Attack, starring Nana Patekar, Madhuri Dixit and Dimple Kapadia.
In June 1994, Singh was selected to attend the Higher Command Course at the Army War College, Mhow. After the ten-month course, he was appointed Colonel General Staff (Col GS) of the 12th Infantry Division at Jodhpur. He spent close to three years in this appointment under two division commanders. In 1998, he was promoted acting Brigadier and appointed Commander of the 168 Infantry Brigade in Samba, Jammu and Kashmir. As Brigade commander, he had four infantry battalions and two Border Security Force units under his command. A year into his command, the Kargil War broke out and all units were on high alert. He was in command of the brigade till mid-2000.
In June 2000, Singh was selected to attend the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in the United States. He performed well at the War College and was graded 'exceptional' in the course. After the course, he returned to India and was appointed Brigadier General Staff (BGS) of Jalandhar based XI Corps. He served in this appointment during Operation Parakram when Indian troops were mobilised on the border in the wake of the 2001 Indian Parliament attack.
Singh was promoted to the rank of Major General and appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) Victor Force - a division-sized formation in the Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu and Kashmir. The Victor Force is responsible for the districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Budgam. For his distinguished service as GOC Victor Force, he was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal on 26 January 2003. After a one-and-a-half tenure, he took over as the Chief of Staff (COS) of the XV Corps. As the COS and the officiating Corps Commander, he was involved in the relief operations in the aftermath of the devastating 2005 Kashmir earthquake, the deadliest earthquake to hit South Asia since the 1935 Quetta earthquake.
On 15 April 2006, Singh was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and shortly thereafter appointed General Officer Commanding II Corps at Ambala. He was at the helm of the Strike Corps for about two years. On 25 February 2008, he was promoted to Army Commander grade and appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command. For distinguished service of the highest order, he was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal on 26 January 2009.
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, a dispute regarding his date of birth arose; Singh took the Government of India to court and become the first serving officer of the Indian Army to do so. Because of an error made in 1965 when he enrolled with the National Defence Academy, official records misstated the year in which he was born. Singh withdrew the writ in February 2012 when, according to The Hindu, the Supreme Court of India "refused to intervene". The Court noted there was no dispute regarding his actual date of birth and that the matter being contested was the way in which it had been recorded. It ruled Singh had on three occasions accepted the misrecorded date.[h]
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 caused a political row. According to Singh, 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 he had requested a written report from Singh regarding the incident and that this had never been submitted. Two days after the interview with Singh, a correspondence between V.K. Singh and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was leaked. The correspondence criticised the standard of India's defences and caused another political row.
Singh retired as Chief of Army Staff on 31 May 2012. He was succeeded by General Bikram Singh.[i]
After his retirement from the military, Singh showed support for the anti-corruption movement. He was seen on the stage in August 2012 at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi, where the yoga instructor Ramdev was fasting in protest of alleged black money and corruption. Singh was reported to have said, "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 said the anti-corruption movement, whose principal figurehead was Anna Hazare, to that of the Bihar Movement that was led by Jayaprakash Narayan in 1975. Singh said, "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."[j]
Singh and Ramdev led a demonstration on 23 December 2012 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, on the 2012 Delhi gang rape case. Singh joined the BJP 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.
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.” In May 2019, Singh became Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways.
2019 General Election
|BJP||Vijay Kumar Singh||9,44,503||61.96||+5.45|
|NOTA||None of the Above||7,495||0.49||+0.03|
2014 General Election
|BJP||Vijay Kumar Singh||7,58,482||56.51||+13.17|
|AAP||Shazia Ilmi Malik||89,147||6.64||N/A|
|NOTA||None of the Above||6,205||0.46||N/A|
Singh is married to Bharti Singh. Bharti complained of an occurrence[when?] of blackmail and extortion by a man of Gurugram. She and Singh have two daughters, Yogja Singh and Mrinali Singh. Yogja is married to Dr. Anirudh Singh who is the son of Lt. Gen. Ashok Singh.
Aside from his career in defence and politics, his interests are sport,[specify] horse riding, and reading. He has written an autobiography, Courage and Conviction, covering his career and experience in the Indian Army.
He has often been embroiled in controversy over his comments on social issues and topics of national importance. From a family with a military background, he is open in his expression of nationalism. He faced criticism over his battle to have the army's record of his date of birth rectified.[k] The dispute culminated in a Supreme Court case. Singh failed in his attempt to have the Army's anomalous record of two different birth dates amended to reflect the later date. The court ruled that the Ministry of Defence could act to enforce his retirement according to the earlier 1950 date, given that Singh had previously agreed to the Army's use of the 1950 date when granting him promotions and awards. The court did not dispute the fact that his actual date of birth was in 1951.
|Param Vishisht Seva Medal||Ati Vishist Seva Medal||Yudh Seva Medal||Poorvi Star|
|Special Service Medal||Sangram Medal||Operation Vijay Medal||Operation Parakram Medal|
|Sainya Seva Medal||High Altitude Service Medal||Videsh Seva Medal||50th Anniversary of Independence Medal|
|25th Anniversary of Independence Medal||30 Years Long Service Medal||20 Years Long Service Medal||9 Years Long Service Medal|
|US Army Ranger Tab|
During his service as the COAS, Singh was appointed honorary Aide-de-camp to the President of India. He served as the Colonel of the Rajput Regiment and as the honorary Colonel of the Brigade of Guards, by virtue of being the Army Chief. On 11 March 2011, he was inducted into the United States Army War College Class of 2001 graduates International Fellows Hall of Fame. He is the 33rd International Fellow and the first officer from the Indian Armed Forces to be inducted. He was inspired by the legacy of Sam Manekshaw in the 1971 Indo Pak war when he was a junior officer in Army.
|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|
The case arose from a difference in the records of the Military Secretary's Branch and the Adjutant General's (AG's) Branch of the army. The latter is the usual record-keeper. In Gen Singh's case, the ministry of defence decided that it will go by the Military Secretary's records – when common sense should have told it to do otherwise. In fact, the MoD has done so in at least one earlier case.
Singh served as the 24th Chief of the Army Staff from 2010 to 2012
VK Singh retired on 31 May 2012 after contributing for 42 years in the Army. He was the 24th Chief of the Army Staff in the Indian Army