Lt. General B.S. Raju has handed over the command of the strategic Kashmir-based 15 Corps to Lt. General D.P. Pandey, the army said in a statement on Wednesday.Lt. Gen. Raju will be the new Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of the Indian Army.The General commanded the 15 Corps in tough phase in 2020 when the valley was confronted with the twin challenges of terrorism and Covid-19."Lt. Gen. Raju's tenure over the last one year is defined by an improved security environment prevailing both on the Line of Control and in Kashmir. With the civil administration and security forces synergising their efforts to bring normalcy back to Kashmir, terrorism is on decline with assessed residual terrorist numbers being the lowest in a decade," the army statement said.The statement added that on the Line of Control, his approach combined a forward heavy deployment enabled by a dense electronic and surveillance grid. Pakistani ceasefire violations were dealt with punitive responses resulting in operational ascendancy by the Indian Army."To complement relentless and successful counter-terrorist operations, Lt. General Raju ensured an improved Soldier-Citizen connect.This effort included many successful events all over the Kashmir Valley, co-opting the 'Awaam' in various sports, culture, arts, education, skilling and health initiatives.
The army effectively used its deployment grid, especially in far-flung areas to be the first respondent in case of need. Grassroots interactions such as intra-dialogue within the youth and 'Day with Company Commander' received overwhelming response," the statement said."Gen. Raju strongly propagated for a second chance to the misguided youth, as he believes this to be critical to achieving lasting peace in J&K. The Army has taken proactive steps to connect with the youth including those who have picked up the weapons against the state. There has been a collaborative effort along with society members, families and other stake holders to encourage and facilitate return of the misguided youth from the path of terrorism. The effort has got an encouraging response, success in terms of surrenders and support from all the sections of the society, and will get additional impetus in the coming months."Having served as Uri Brigade Commander, GOC of Victor Force and now as GOC Chinar Corps, Gen. Raju reinforced and institutionalised high professional standards and ethical conduct in combat operations. He now moves to assume higher responsibilities as Director General of Military Operations of the Indian Army.On the occasion of Republic Day, Lieutenant General B.S. Raju was awarded the prestigious Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM), in recognition of his contribution in taking Kashmir on a positive trajectory on the path of lasting peace.