Age: 58 Years
Profession: Army Personnel
Wife: Shakuntala Raju
Some lesser known facts about Baggavalli Somashekara Raju
- Baggavalli Somashekar Raju is a three-star general in the Indian Army, who has recently been appointed as the 44th Deputy Chief of the Army Staff. He is also known for bringing reforms in the 15 Corps of the Indian Army. He is also credited with increasing the interaction of the Indian Army with the local Kashmiri people.
- BS Raju’s association with the Indian Army started at a very young age. He took admission in the prestigious Sainik School, Bijapur; After passing the All India Level Examination.
- BS Raju completed his schooling in 1979 and then appeared in the entrance examination for the National Defense Academy. He joined NDA in December 1980.
- Upon completing 3 years of rigorous training in the NDA, BS Raju joined the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, in 1983, where he trained for another year, and in December 1984, BS Raju was commissioned as a Jat of the Indian Army. Commissioned into the regiment. ,
- BS Raju was commissioned into the 11th Battalion of the Jat Regiment. Where he held many important battalion based appointments like Company Commander, Adjutant and Second in Command.
- BS Raju is also a qualified helicopter pilot. He served with the Aviation Corps of the Indian Army during the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Somalia and flew several aerial reconnaissance missions.
- As a young Major, BS Raju made an important appointment as a Brigade Major.
- BS Raju also participated in Operation Parakram from 2001 to 2002. He later commanded the 15th Battalion of the Jat Regiment.
- In 2009, after completing his command of 15 Jat, BS Raju served as the directing staff of the Defense Services Staff College. He was also posted as an instructor in the War College Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.
- As a colonel, BS Raju was posted as a Military Secretary (Legal) at the Army Headquarters in Delhi.
- Promoted to the rank of a Brigadier, BS Raju was appointed as the Commander of the Uri Brigade, in 2011. He then served as the Brigadier General Staff (BGS) in the Indian Army’s Kashmir-based White Knight Corps.
- Upon being promoted to the rank of Major General, BS Raju was appointed as the Deputy Director General of Military Operations (DDGMO) and then as the Director General Staff Duties (DGSD) at Army Headquarters, Delhi.
- As Major General, BS Raju was also appointed as the Commandant of the Indian Military Training Group in Bhutan; where he oversaw the training of Bhutanese soldiers Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) and Royal Bodyguard of Bhutan (RBG).
- From 2017 to 2018, BS Raju commanded the Indian Army’s elite counter-terrorism force, Victor Force. During BS Raju’s tenure as commander, Hizbul Mujahideen’s poster boy, Burhan Wani was tracked down and killed by the Indian Army.
- As Victor Force Commander, BS Raju personally witnessed that the killers of the young Kashmiri Army officer, Lt Umar Fayaz, were brought to justice.
- BS Raju also convinced Majid Khan, a young Kashmiri and a talented footballer, to surrender.
- In 2019, BS Raju was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.
- BS Raju, from 1 March 2020 to 17 May 2021, served as the Corps Commander of 15 Corps.
- During his military service, BS Raju has been posted more than five times in the Kashmir region.
- While serving in the Rashtriya Rifles, BS Raju emphasized humanitarian values and developed an interpersonal relationship with the local people of Kashmir. BS Raju said in an interview,
The army is the friend of every citizen and this message was rightly conveyed by my predecessor. I will make every effort to continue this practice.”
- As 15 Corps Commander, BS Raju changed his strategy. They took a more humane approach, rather than following a simple, detect-and-kill strategy. Before the encounter, he asked the ground commanders to give an opportunity to the terrorists to surrender. He also stressed on better provision of rehabilitation and rehabilitation facilities for surrendered militants. In an interview he said,
Armed forces do not want to kill terrorists and every terrorist is given an opportunity to surrender. As I said, every loss of life is unfortunate. We don’t even want to kill the militants, we give them a chance to surrender. Striking terrorists in populated areas seek civilian casualties as it gets attention. The deaths of civilians provide fodder to the propaganda machines. Security forces are exercising restraint. Even to the militants, we always give an option to surrender.
- Due to the new strategy adopted by BS Raju, there was a tremendous increase in the number of surrenderers in the Kashmir Valley. It also prohibited the recruitment of local people into banned terrorist organizations.
- BS Raju also believes in connecting directly with the youth of Kashmir. Addressing the youth, BS Raju said in an interview,
My main message to the youth – can you come back and we will take care of you. In the last six months, seventeen of those who had gone astray have returned and we will take care of them. My appeal to the lost youth is to come back. They can come back at any time, including during the operation. They can call anyone, their parents, on our helpline and we will make arrangements for their return.”
- As 15 Corps Commander, BS Raju established a direct link between himself and the local people. 15 Corps set up Feedback and Grievance Helpline No. Through this, the local people can directly lodge a complaint or any complaint with the Corps Commander. The move was aimed at making the forces more accountable to the Kashmiri people.
- In order to increase the interaction of the local population with the soldiers, BS Raju devised a brilliant plan named “A Day with the Company Commanders”. Under this scheme, the local people will come and interact with the Indian Army. It reduced the barrier between the soldiers and the local people, especially the youth; BS Raju called the youth the “Generation of Rage”.
- The plan was very successful. As a result, various military divisions in the Kashmir Valley also adopted it.
- 15 Corps of the Indian Army under the command of BS Raju, to assist the local people living in remote areas of Kashmir; Well started patrolling. Under this, the Indian Army will travel to inaccessible areas and help the local people. BS Raju laid more emphasis on patrolling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The 15 Corps of the Indian Army under the command of BS Raju started organizing and conducting several sports and cultural events in Kashmir. The move was aimed at establishing and maintaining cordial relations between the local people of different regions.
- The Indian Army is running Army Goodwill Schools throughout the Kashmir Valley, but digital learning was introduced in schools during the tenure of BS Raju. He also laid more emphasis on improving the teaching methods in schools. Due to his efforts, the results of Army Sadbhavna Schools, especially in class 10th and 12th board, improved by leaps and bounds.
- Under the command of BS Raju of 15 Corps, European delegates came to Kashmir to experience the development of Kashmir under the Charter of the United Nations.
- In 2021, acting as Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), India and Pakistan decided to follow the norms of the 2003 ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control. The move was welcomed by BS Raju and in an interview he said,
It is in the interest of both India and Pakistan to observe the ceasefire and it is the need of the hour and I want this ceasefire to work. The local people living on the border will get a chance to lead a normal life, which was hampered by several ceasefire violations in the past. ,
- As DGMO, BS Raju oversaw the maintenance of overall operational preparedness of the Indian Army during the intense Sino-Indian standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- On 1 May 2022, BS Raju took over as the Chief of the Army Staff from Lt Gen Manoj Pandey.
General MM Naravane #COAS all ranks of #Indian Army Congratulations to Lt Gen BS Raju on being appointed as the Chief of Army Staff #VCOAS Of #Indian Army, Lt Gen BS Raju will take over. Appointment of #VCOAS On 01 May 2022.#Indian Army#InStrideWithTheFuture pic.twitter.com/kM6q6n3g67
– ADG PI – Indian Army (@adgpi) April 29, 2022
- BS Raju will later be appointed as the Army Commander. He will become the second lieutenant general in the history of the Indian Army to be made an army commander after taking over as the Chief of the Army Staff.
- BS Raju has always maintained a tough stand on Pakistan. Talking about the situation in Pakistan, he said in an interview,
We are always ready to give a befitting reply to them and we will always defeat their (Pakistan’s) dangerous and nefarious designs.
- On 8 April 2022, BS Raju launched the book “Tiger of Drass”. The book is based on the works of Kargil War hero, Captain Anuj Nayyar, Mahavir Chakra.