Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita: A Stalwart's Farewell as Indian Army's Eastern Commander Retires

Spanning a career over four decades, Lt General Kalita is to retire on December 31, 2023, leaving his post and a huge gap in Indian Military.
Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita: A Stalwart's Farewell as Indian Army's Eastern Commander Retires
Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita: A Stalwart's Farewell as Indian Army's Eastern Commander Retires

The history of the Indian Military, surviving through its glorious periods and turbulent times, certainly has to have a special chapter allotted to Lieutenant General Rana Pratap Kalita. He is the stalwart to many remarkable things through his life as an army officer. From being part of various important military operations to serving in staff appointments, from developing infrastructure to arrange sports events, he perhaps has done it all. Spanning a career over four decades, Lt General Kalita is to retire on December 31, 2023, leaving his post and a huge gap in Indian Military.

Currently serving as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of the Indian Army's Eastern Command, the Lt General was born into an Assamese family to Jogendra Kalita and Renu Kalita in Rangia, Kamrup District.

Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita
Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita

How Rana Pratap Kalita Started His Prestigious Career?

An alumnus of Sainik School, Goalpara and National Defence Academy (NDA) Khadakwasla, General Kalita started his now-illustrious career in fabled 9 Kumaon Regiment on June 9, 1984, from Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

The desire of becoming an army officer bloomed in Lt General Kalita’s heart right from his childhood. Son of the headmaster, he grew up in the Tamulpur High School campus, studying at primary level there. There was an army camp nearby and the NCC camps were organized on the school ground itself. On constant exposure to the activities of those camps, he was enamored with the discipline and hard work the army people displayed. His parents saw his enthusiasm and sent him to Sainik School in 1973, at fifth standard, starting what we have of his storybook journey now.

Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita
Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita

After leaving Sainik School, he joined NDA on August, 1980. He spent three years there and afterwards received training at Indian Military Academy for one year before he joined the distinguished 9 Kumaon Regiment.

RP Kalita's Contributions to The India Army

A powerhouse of the Indian Military, Lt-Gen Kalita carries with him a vast operational experience of serving in various important operations. His immense repertoire includes Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, Operation Parakram and Operation Rakshak in Jammu & Kashmir, Operation Bajrang & Operation Rhino in Assam, Operation Orchid in Nagaland and Operation Hifazat in Manipur.

Lt-Gen Kalita also boasts having experience at serving in various staff appointments including Colonel General Staff of a Division and Brigadier General Staff Operations (BGS-Ops) of a Corps in highly active Counter Insurgency environment. He has also had key appointments in Military Secretary’s Branch, Operational Logistics Directorate and Adjutant General’s Branch in Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Army). He had a tenure as an instructor in Officers Training Academy, Chennai and Directing Staff in Higher Command Wing of Army War College, Mhow. He has served twice at United Nations as a Military Observer in Sierra Leone and Chief Operations Officer in Sudan. He had commanded III Corps and was the Chief of Staff of Eastern Command. Before he became the first officer from Assam and the North East to become an army commander, he was Director General (Manpower Planning & Personal Services) in Army Headquarters, New Delhi. During his assignment there, he orchestrated the funeral arrangements for the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita
Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita

How Has the Lt General Developed Assam and Northeast?

In his current role as the head of the Eastern Command, Lt-Gen Kalita finds himself immersed in a demanding schedule. Alongside this, he is also allocating his time with additional projects ranging from socio-cultural affairs to developmental assistance to sports.

Lt-Gen Rana Pratap Kalita has played a pivotal role in transforming Guwahati into one of the host cities for the 131st and 132nd editions of the Durand Cup, with Kokrajhar sharing the role of the host city for the latter. He is also the architect behind Guwahati Half Marathon, now turning into a yearly tradition.

Lt-Gen Kalita was also central in realizing the 35-feet statue of Lachit Borphukan at Narengi Military Station.

The Mega Defence event East Tech 2023 was another project helmed by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief. In this initiative, the Eastern Army Command joined hands with the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to foster awareness regarding the modern technologies and hardware solutions offered by Indian Defence Manufacturers under the 'Raksha Atmanirbharat' initiative. This endeavour aims to address the constantly changing operational dynamics within the Eastern Command by promoting the use of indigenous, innovative, and futuristic technologies.

Lt-Gen Kalita has actively been engaged in advancing civil-military fusion within the Eastern Command. The initiative is taken to bridge the gap between civilians and the military. As part of this endeavour, the Indian Army has been developing infrastructure in the northeastern states. Together with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the state governments, the Indian Army has been developing infrastructure in the north-eastern states. They have developed roads, airports, and even logistics capability in various areas.

Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita
Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita

Starting his career in 1984 , Lt. Gen Rana Pratap Kalita is probably amongst the most decorated people in the history of Indian military. In September, 2020, he became the first Assamese army officer to be appointed as a corps commander and the second one from the North East after Lt-Gen KH Singh (retd) of Manipur, an another alumnus of Sainik School, Goalpara.

The General Officer commanded the 13th Rashtriya Rifles Battalion in intense Counter Insurgency environment in Jammu & Kashmir, Mountain Brigade in peace, and an Infantry Division in Jammu & Kashmir and Corps in North East. Lt-Gen Kalita is also the Colonel of the Kumaon & Naga Regiments and Kumaon Scouts.

Over the years, Lt General Rana Pratap Kalita has been recipient of many awards and accolades for his illustrious contribution to the service. Among those, he has been conferred with Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card & GOC-in-C Eastern Command Commendation Card.

Lieutenant General Rana Pratap Kalita’s remarkable journey from the small boy from Tamulpur, with big dreams in his eyes to becoming the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command is nothing short of extraordinary. His vast career, marked by significant contributions to the society will live on, transcendenting his retirement from the course of Indian Military.

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