New Delhi: On his first day in office, Indian Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh on Friday sent out a strong message regarding difficulties facing the force, including sexual misconduct allegations during deployment in the UN Congo mission, and said nothing would be brushed under the carpet.

Bikram Singh, who took over as the 27th Indian Army chief and the 25th Indian to hold the coveted position, told reporters after a ceremonial guard of honour on the lawns of South Block here that his key result area would be to maintain the army as a 'secular, apolitical' force.

The former Kolkata-based Eastern Army Commander is the second Sikh to take over as India's Army Chief.

Bikram Singh, who took over from Gen. V.K. Singh, said all units of the 1.13 million force and its commanders work towards improving the organisation's internal health and that effort would continue.

Bikram Singh had to overcome several hurdles, including a legal battle that sought to deny him the opportunity to head the world's second largest standing army. Various allegations were levelled against him including his role in the fake encounter in Jammu & Kashmir in 2001 and his questionable role during a UN peace keeping mission in 2008 in Congo.

Bikram Singh was the UN Congo mission deputy commander when the international body's oversight panel had indicted the Indian forces of sexually abusing local women.

He was, till Thursday, Kolkata-based Eastern Army Commander.


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