Lieutenant General I S Singha was commissioned into The RAJPUTANA RIFLES Regiment in 1977, after three years of training at the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, followed by one year at the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. During his over 34 years of eventful military career and active service, the officer has had varied command and staff experience at all levels and in all types of terrain to include plains, riverine, deserts and high altitude.
The officer is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India, the Senior and Higher Command Courses, Mhow, India and the National Defence College, New Delhi, India. Some of the prestigious staff appointments tenated by the officer include President, Army Standing Establishment Committee and General Staff Officer Grade 1 at Military Operations Directorate at Army Headquarters and Brigadier General Staff Operations of a Corps Headquarters and Colonel General Staff of an Armored Division.
LtGen I S Singha’s field and operational tenures include command of an Infantry Company in a High Altitude area of Jammu and Kashmir, which was affected by insurgency and terrorism.
As a Battalion and a Brigade Commander, he had the distinction of commanding on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, in an low intensity conflict environment.
He was awarded Chief of Army Staff Commendation twice, Force Commander’s Commendation and CAO’s Commendation at UNMEE in addition to having been awarded the “VISHISHT SEVA MEDAL” for distinguished service of a very high order as a Brigade Commander.
The General Officer has been an active participant in various seminars on war fighting, human rights, human resources development and counter terrorism.
A keen sportsman, the General Officer is fond of basketball, golf and tennis. The General Officer is married to Mrs. Baljeet and they have two sons, Ranvijay and Harmanjeet.
LtGen I S Singha took over command as Force Commander UNDOF from Major General Natalio C. Ecarma III (PHILIPPINES) on August 13, 2012. The Officer promoted on July 1, 2013 to Lieutenant General
"The UNDOF commander wanted to save the Fijians at the expense of the Filipinos. Our troops did not want to surrender. Their honour was at stake. He (Lt-Gen Singha) kept on changing his orders. It is but proper that an investigation be conducted to include him"
NEW DELHI: An Indian Lt-General commanding the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Golan Heights, Iqbal Singh Singha, has landed in a major controversy with the Philippine military seeking an investigation against him for allegedly endangering the safety of its peacekeeping troops during the stand-off with Syrian rebels over the last weekend.
Philippines armed forces chief Gen Gregorio Pio Catapang, as per reports emanating from the Middle-East as well as Manila, alleged Lt-Gen Singha ordered the Filipino troops under UNDOF to lay down their weapons and "show the white flag" to the Syrian rebels to ensure the safety of 44 Fijian peacekeepers earlier taken hostage by them.
Gen Catapang said the Filipino troops — who held their ground without surrendering last Saturday — would have also been taken captive if they had not defied Lt-Gen Singha's orders.
"The UNDOF commander wanted to save the Fijians at the expense of the Filipinos. Our troops did not want to surrender. Their honour was at stake. He (Lt-Gen Singha) kept on changing his orders. It is but proper that an investigation be conducted to include him," Gen Catapang, was quoted as saying.
Indian Army officers, who are monitoring the situation from here, said it was for the UN to "comment" on the matter.
"But UNDOF is working under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, which is primarily concerned with a supervisory role without any enforcing authority. Peacekeeping operations under Chapter VII give the enforcement authority and the ability to use force beyond self-defence," said an officer.
Incidentally, Lt-Gen Singha, a Rajputana Rifles officer who was appointed UNDOF commander in August 2012, had also courted controversy in March 2011 when he had lauded the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as a politician who had "all the qualities of an Army commander" during a public function in Ahmedabad.
"He (Modi) keeps deadlines for completion of work and ensures that the target is achieved by the set time," the then Maj-Gen Singha had held.
India has 194 soldiers under the 1,250-troop UNDOF, which was established in May 1974 to maintain the ceasefire between Israeli and Syrian forces and supervise their disengagement.
India constantly figures in the top three troop contributors for UN missions, and has lost over 140 soldiers since its first commitment to Korea began in 1950. Seven Indian soldiers, including a Lt-Colonel, for instance, were killed in ambushes in strife-torn South Sudan last year.
Officials, however, feel the large troop contribution reinforces India's claim for a permanent seat when the UN Security Council is eventually expanded, apart from providing handsome monetary compensation and "international exposure" to its soldiers.