Guwahati: Lt Gen RP Kalita assumed the charge of Chief of Staff (CoS) in Eastern Command at Fort William, Kolkata on Friday. He is the second army officer from Assam to be promoted to the rank of Lt Gen after Pranab Bharali.
Kalita, who is an alumnus of Sainik School, Goalpara in Assam, National Defence Academy (NDA) and Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, was earlier awarded ‘Sena Medal’ and ‘Vishisht Seva Medal’. He was also conferred with the prestigious ‘Ati Vishisht Seva Medal’ for his outstanding performance and service to the nation during his tenure as the General Officer Commanding of XIX Infantry Division at Baramulla in the aftermath of the ‘fidayeen attack’ in Uri in Kashmir valley.
Son of Jogendra Kalita, a prominent teacher, of Rangiya in Kamrup (rural) district, Kalita got commissioned in 9 Kumaon Regiment in June 1984. He commanded 13 RR Battalion in Kashmir, 71 Infantry Brigade in Lucknow and 19 Infantry Division in Baramula LOC.
He had held various staff and instructional assignments in Army headquarters, College of Combat, Mhow. Prior to taking over Baramula Division, he was Brigadier General staff operation in 15 Corps Srinagar. He also served a term as a member of UN Peacekeeping force. He was also entrusted to coordinate the funeral of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
As per reports, Kalita is among the 10 officials of the Army whose names have been cleared for promotion. The list includes names such as Majour General CP Cariappa of Rajasthan Rrifles, Major General Shantanu Dayal of Garhwal Rifles, Anil Puri of Corps of Engineers, Upendra Dwivedi of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles and PNA Narayanan of 8th Gorkha Rifles.
Lt Gen Kalita is married to Nisha Kalita and is the father of a girl child.