Lieutenant General PC Bhardwaj, commander of the Indian Army's Northern Command, has taken over as the army's vice-chief of staff. He is now positioned to become the chief when incumbent Gen. Deepak Kapoor retires in March 2010.
Lt Gen Bhardwaj succeeds Lt Gen Noble Thamburaj into the position.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and the National Defence College Lt Gen Bhardwaj was commissioned into First Battalion the Parachute Regiment on 14 Jun 1970.
A specialist in special operations, Gen Bhardwaj is the first person from the Indian Army to undergo the rigorous Commando Divers Course at the Naval Diving School. He excelled on the course, qualifying as an instructor. He has also attended the prestigious Special Forces Officers Course at Fort Bragg, USA where he stood out in performance earning an instructor rating.
As a 2nd Lt in the 1971 Bangladesh war, Gen Bhardwaj was awarded the Vir Chakra for conspicuous bravery. He commanded his parent unit, 1 Para (Commando) in counter insurgency operations in the eastern part of the country and was awarded the Shaurya Chakra for a daring rescue operation.
He has commanded a mountain brigade in Nagaland and also the elite Parachute Brigade.