Highest French Distinction conferred on General JJ Singh
On behalf of the President of the French Republic, H.E. Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, conferred the highest French civilian distinction, ‘Officier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur’ (Officer of the Legion of Honour), on General JJ Singh, former Chief of Army Staff of India on Monday, 11th April 2016.
New Delhi, 11 April 2016
This honour comes in recognition of General JJ Singh’s stellar role in modernising the Indian Army and initiating robust exchanges between the Indian and the French armies for achieving unprecedented levels of cooperation and inter-operability, creating enduring ties and promoting mutual understanding between India and France.
General Joginder Jaswant Singh was born in 1945 to a family dedicated to military service. His grandfather was a soldier of the British Indian Army who was wounded in World War I, while his father is a veteran of World War II.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy and holder of a master’s degree in Defence Science, he was commissioned in the 9th Maratha Light Infantry on 2 Aug 1964.
During his various tenures with his battalions, he served in Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim with distinction. Thereafter, he was appointed India’s first Defence Attaché to Algeria (1987-1990).
After his return from Algeria, General Singh commanded a Mountain Brigade in Baramulla Sector, Jammu and Kashmir and was wounded in counter insurgency operations. He, thereafter commanded an Infantry Division from 1996 to 1998.
In January 2003, he was appointed as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Army Training Command (ARTRAC) and took over as Army Commander - Western Command in Jan 2004.
On 31 Jan 2005, General Joginder Jaswant Singh assumed the office of Chief of Army Staff. In this capacity, it was his constant endeavour to modernise the Army, enhance its combat potential and reach, as also strengthen the welfare of all ranks and their families. His focussed direction was based on the ‘Doctrine of the Indian Army’, which he had earlier authored.
In 2007, he also held the appointment of Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee of the three forces. Working tirelessly towards the enhancement of military cooperation between the Indian and French armies, he led an inter-services delegation to France that year. It was during this tenure that he mooted the idea of holding joint army exercises at the level already existing between the two countries’ air forces (“Garuda”) and navies (“Varuna”). It was thus that the “Shakti” inter-army exercise later came into being in 2011. In 2009, he was invited as the Guest of Honour for the French National Day military parade in Paris in which an Indian Army contingent took part for the first time.
After his retirement in September 2007, General Singh served as the Governor of the State of Arunachal Pradesh from 2008-2013. He was proactive in the implementation of the Prime Minister’s development package of Rs. 20,000 crores for the development of major infrastructure projects related to road, rail, air connectivity and power.
General JJ Singh’s autobiography, A Soldier’s General, published in 2012 by Harper Collins, India, has been a bestseller. The book has been translated into Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi and Bengali, and is currently being translated into French.
The Legion d’Honneur, created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, la Légion d’Honneur (“the Legion of Honour”) is the highest civilian award given by the French Republic for outstanding service to France, regardless of the nationality of the recipients. The President of the French Republic is the Grand Master of the Order of the Legion of Honour.