NA Chief of General Staff Lt. General Rajendra Chhetri took over the national Army as the acting Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) from Tuesday as incumbent CoAS Rana goes on leave from Monday before his scheduled retirement on account of age.
Rana, who will formally retire on September 10, handed over responsibilities to Chhetri amid a program at army headquarters.
The government had promoted Chhetri to the post of Lt. General on February 24 on the recommendation of the Ministry of Defense, paving the way for his elevation to the post of army chief. The government nominated him as the acting chief of Nepal Army on Friday.
A month ahead of his formal retirement, outgoing Chief of Army Staff Gaurav Shumsher JB Rana, in his message to the entire rank and file of Nepal Army, took pride in the achievements of the integration of former Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army and "successful" security arrangements during the second Constituent Assembly elections.
Recalling his three-year terms, CoAS Rana highlighted those two achievements as successful chapters in the history of Nepal's peace process that began several years ago.
"After the political transition of armed insurgency through peace process, some sections of people remained suspicious and viewed the NA as a major obstacle to change," CoAS Rana's message reads. But our integral roles during Maoist Combatants integration into NA and in the CA election proved that we were always there for strengthening democratic system, enhancing peace process, he said adding.
"I had to overcome lots of challenges as I took charge during a difficult political phase and, at the same time, had to fulfill my own roadmap related to professionalism development, operational preparation for restructuring the Nepal Army, he said.
He reiterated that in the past three years, he was successful in enhancing military diplomacy, professional and systematic trainings, skill development schemes, organizational reforms, comprehensive welfare packages, among others.
"I feel proud at the fact that an environment of meritocracy in promoting officers to leadership position was created during my tenure," he said in his concluding remarks.