Lt Gen Pranab Kumar Bharali, Vishist Seva Medal, has been appointed as the Director General of Army Aviation Corps at the Army Headquarters, Delhi. Army promoted an officer from army aviation corps for the first time to this post. Lt Gen PK Bharali has therefore become the first officer from army aviation to be promoted to this post. He is also the first Army officer from Assam to rise to the rank of Lt General.
India has the second largest Army in the world comprising approximately twelve lakh personnel including about forty thousand officers drawn from all parts of India. However, in the past no one from Assam was ever promoted to the rank of Lt General in the Army. In 2009 Pranab kumar bharali became the first person from North East India to be promoted to the rank of Major General in the fighting arms of the Army. Success of Pranab kumar Bharali, having been promoted to the rank of Lt General has forever removed this block for Assam.
Lt Gen PK Bharali is an alumnus of Sainik School Goalpara, Assam. This prestigious school has produced bulk of the officers of the Armed forces belonging to Assam, many of whom have risen to senior ranks. Pranab Kumar Bharali son of late Shri Uma Kanta Bharali graduated from the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla. He was commissioned as an officer in the Army in Jun 1977. Testimony of brilliance of this son of Assam amongst his colleagues is borne by the fact that he stood first in various Army courses of instructions and has earned the coveted ‘Silver Gun’, ‘Commando Dagger’ and ‘Silver Cheetah’ trophies in such courses, which is a rare achievement. He became a helicopter pilot and subsequently a flying instructor in the Army and rose successfully in the career in Army Aviation Corps. He commanded a helicopter unit of the Army in Misamari near Tezpur in 2000-2001. He held the appointment of General Staff Officer (Operations) of a Counter Insurgency Force Headquarter, Colonel Administration of a Division Headquarter and Brigadier Aviation in a command Headquarter in Jammu and Kashmir before assuming the appointment of Head of Army Aviation Corps in the capacity as the Additional Director General in Army Headquarters as a Major General in July 2009 being the senior most officer of Army Aviation Corps. Till now the Army Aviation Corps officers could hold rank only up to Major General. Pranab Kumar bharali has earned the distinction of becoming the first officer of the Army Aviation Corps to be promoted to the rank of Lt General.
Army Aviation Corps operates the helicopter fleet of the Army which comprises of Cheetah, Chetak, Dhruv and Rudra helicopters numbering more than 280 such helicopters. Army has plans to equip this corps with attack helicopters, larger transport helicopters and replace the existing light helicopters which will give a boost to the military capability of the nation. Appointment of Lt Gen Pranab Kumar Bharali as the Director General of Army Aviation Corps at such a critical juncture will provide the requisite professional leadership to this corps.