Lieutenant General Pandala Nagesh Rao took over the charge of General Officer Commanding (GOC), Dakshin Bharat (DB) Area on December 8. Headquartered in Chennai, the DB Area comes under Southern Command of Indian Army, a Defence Ministry release said. PN Rao was commissioned in December 1982 into Fifth Battalion of the Parachute Regiment from Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. He was the Sword of Honour of his course.
The new GOC brings along vast combat and command experience of different terrains and operations. He commanded 5 Parachute Regiment in Operation Rakshak in Jammu and Kashmir; a Mountain Brigade in Binnaguri, a Mountain Division in Manipur and a Mountain Strike Corps at Ranchi later at Panagarh. Before taking over as GOC Dakshin Bharat Area, PN Rao was Chief of Staff at Headquarters, South Western Command, Jaipur.
PN Rao has an extensive career and has served in Operation Blue Star, Operation Orchid, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Trident, Operation Pawan, Operation Vijay and Operation Rhino. He has been awarded Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Central Command Commendation Card, Wound Medal – twice, Yudh Seva Medal and Sena Medal for Gallantry.
The General Officer's staff and instructional assignments include; Instructor class ‘C’ at National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla; General Staff Officer at the Military Operations Directorate and Director Faculty of Studies, Infantry School, Mhow; and Directing Staff and later Senior Instructor, at Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. After initial schooling at St. Edward’s School, Shimla and Doveton Corrie School, Madras, Gen Rao joined National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. PN Rao is a graduate of the prestigious Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and is an alumnus of coveted National Defence College, New Delhi. An accomplished sportsman, Lieutenant General Rao has been a Blue in Football & Hockey at both NDA and IMA. He is also a passionate Golf and Basketball player.
(With agency inputs)