In a first, Assam’s Lieutenant General Rana Pratap Kalita was appointed as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) in Chief of the Eastern Command, one of the top-most positions of the Indian Army, on Tuesday.
The news, which came as the nation prepared to observe its 73rd Republic Day, was welcomed by the people of the state. Lt. Gen. Rana Pratap Kalita, a resident of Assam’s Rangia, also became the first ever army officer from the Northeast to get appointed to the position.
Son of a noted teacher of lower Assam, Jogendra Kalita and Renu Kalita from Rangia, Rana Pratap Kalita was a student of Goalpara Sainik School. He was an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Military Academy (IMA).
He was an officer in the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army which he had joined in the year 1984. He had also served as head of Kolkata’s Eastern Command of the Indian Army, becoming the first Assamese to do so.
Honoured with the Sena Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal, he was recipient of the Uttam Yudh Seva Medal for wartime distinguished service in 2021.
He had also served as the commander of the Rashtriya Rifles Battalion in Jammu and Kashmir and as a UN observer. In 2018, he was given the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal for commanding the 19th Infantry Division in the Baramulla Line of Control. He was also part of counter insurgency operations, Operation Rhino and Operation Bajrang.
Congratulating him on the milestone, Director General Of Police (DGP) of Assam, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta tweeted, “Congratulations and best wishes to Lt. Gen. Rana P. Kalita on taking over as General Officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Command, Fort Williams, Kolkata. A first for any Assamese or a North-Easterner. We're proud of your achievement & wish for many such milestones ahead.”