B. S. Raju

B. S. Raju
Real Name: Baggavalli Somashekar Raju
Date of Birthday: 19 October 1963
Place of Birth: Davanagere, Karnataka, India

Military service
Allegiance: India
Branch/service: Indian Army
Years of service: December 1984–present
Rank: Lieutenant General
Unit: 11 JAT & 15 JAT
Commands: XV Corps
Awards: Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, South Western Command Commendation Card

Lieutenant General Baggavalli Somashekar Raju, UYSM, AVSM, YSM (born 19 October 1963) is a serving general officer of the Indian Army. He currently serves as the 44th Vice Chief of the Army Staff. He served as the Director General Military Operations (DGMO).

He had been the 49th Commander of the XV Corps (Chinar Corps) from 1 March 2020 to 17 March 2021, assuming the post from Lieutenant General KJS Dhillon. Before taking over the charge of the Chinar Corps, he served as the Director General of Staff Duties. He is also the Colonel of the Jat Regiment since 1 February 2021 after taking over from Lieutenant General S K Saini, the Vice Chief of the Army Staff.

He has been appointed as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff on 29 April, 2022. He took charge on 1 May 2022 succeeding General Manoj Pande (then Lt General) on his elevation.

Early life and education
Raju was born in Davanagere district, in a family which traces its origin to Baggavalli village near Ajjampura in Chikmagalur district. Raju is an alumnus of Sainik School, Bijapur, and the National Defence Academy, Pune.

He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and the Royal College of Defence Studies, United Kingdom. He also attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California where he completed his Masters program in Counter Terrorism.

He is married to Shakunthala Raju, also from Karnataka, and the couple have a son and daughter.

Raju was commissioned in December 1984 in the 11th battalion, the Jat Regiment (11 Jat). He later commanded 15th Battalion, the Jat Regiment (15 JAT). He has served as an Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and at the Army War College, Mhow. In staff appointments, he has served as the brigade major of an infantry brigade and as the Colonel Military Secretary (Legal) at Army HQ.

After being promoted to the rank of brigadier, he was appointed commander of the Uri Brigade in August 2011. He commanded the brigade till 30 December 2012. He subsequently served as the Brigadier General Staff (BGS) at HQ XVI Corps and as the Deputy Director General Military Operations (DDGMO) and Director General Staff Duties at Army HQ.

General officer
The General Officer served as Commandant, Indian Military Training Team in Bhutan prior to assuming command of XV Corps. He has an incisive understanding of Jammu and Kashmir, as he has served in Kashmir for five tenures since 1984.

Victor Force Commander
Lt Gen B S Raju commanded the elite Counter Insurgency Force in troubled times from 28 March 2017 to 1 April 2018 post elimination of Burhan Wani, the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen. It was during this period only that a blooming footballer Majid Khan who had treaded the path of terrorism was given opportunity to return to mainstream and he had surrendered. As a Force Commander he oversaw the successful operation in which the killers of Lt Umar Fayaz were eliminated in South Kashmir

XV Corps Commander
He was the General Officer Commanding of the XV Corps', or 15 Corps, also known as Chinar Corps Indian Army, a Corps of the Indian Army which is presently located in Srinagar and responsible for military operations in the Kashmir Valley.

Human Approach Operation
While Commanding Counter Insurgency Force (Victor) in troubled time of 2017–2018, he built a reputation of a man giving respect to human values and had a deep sense of belonging with the locals. While taking over, he emphasised that "The Army is a friend of every civilian and that message has been conveyed aptly by my predecessor. My every attempt would be to continue this practice".

Facilitate Return of Local Terrorist from Path of Terrorism
Lt Gen B S Raju's key focus is to allow those who have picked up arms to surrender and join the mainstream. It has greatly helped the youth who have gone "astray" to come back & with recruitment fairly lowest in last decade has resulted in substantial reduction in number of terrorist operating in Kashmir. With people as the centre of gravity, all his efforts are being directed in that direction during his command of prestigious XV Corps of Indian Army. Lt Gen B S Raju had underlined numerous times that the army is working more on ensuring surrender rather than going for straight neutralisation.

India, Pakistan Agree to Observe Ceasefire along LoC
On 25 February 2021 India Pakistan agreed to stand by the Ceasefire Agreement of 2003, which was a welcome move across both the borders. Guns will remain silent and locals living across the border will get a chance to live their normal lives, which was hampered by numerous cease fire violations in the past. Lt Gen B S Raju also welcomed the move and commented that observing ceasefire is in interest of both India and Pakistan, and need of hour and he wants this truce to work.

Message to Youth of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir
During one of the interview, Lt Gen B S Raju gave a message to youth of Kashmir. He amply conveyed to the youth that even if they have drifted from the mainstream society and have picked up arms, they will still be taken care of. He told that even during operations any youth can come back and we will help him in joining mainstream. "My main message to youth - is you can get back and we will take care of you. In the last six months, seventeen of those who had strayed have come back and we will take care of them. My appeal to the youth who have gone astray is to come back. They can get back anytime, including during operations. They can call anybody, their parents, our helpline and we will organise their return," he said. Again on 7 July 2020, Lt Gen Raju was quoted where he said, "As I said, every loss of life is unfortunate. We don't want to kill militants, we give them an opportunity to surrender."

A Day with Company Commander
Under Lt Gen B S Raju the Indian Army started "A Day with Company Commander", which proved to be a very innovative and successful model for the Soldier-Citizen connect. The intent is to break the barriers between soldier and the new generation. The need that the new generation should get a different experience than of the so-called Generation of Rage, because they experienced terrorism and its pitfalls for last thirty years. Hence 'day with company commander' came to give the feeling of a friendly next door neighbour and humsaya. This phenomenon became very popular across Kashmir and is being replicated at all the Company Operating Bases. Not only the boys but girls have also participated in these events in great numbers.

Chinar Corps Helpline
It was during Lt Gen B S Raju's tenure as a Corps Commander that Chinar Corps established a Feedback & Grievances Helpline (9484101010) for the population of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. While inaugurating the helpline, Lt Gen B S Raju stressed that "Helpline number has been started to strengthen connectivity between people, Army in J-K." This helpline is also accessible through Telegram messaging app. This helpline over the time has proved its worth and receives hundreds of phone calls and has become a true "Madadgar" for the Awam of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Khairiyat Patrol
In order to assist the locals residing in remote areas Indian Army conducts Khairiyat Patrols, during Lt Gen B S Raju's tenure this cause got a special impetus in view of the COVID-19 challenges. During the patrol, the Army reached out to Awam to know about their well-being and provided medical attention to those in need.

Sports and Cultural Outreach Programs
In an effort to strike a common chord with the local population Indian Army facilitates conduct of sports and cultural programs in J&K. To extend the reach of the activities Lt B S Gen Raju pushed for games at village level which are being conducted across Kashmir valley. The village games were rustic games that were popular with the locals of the region and rejuvenated rural games. More than 100 such events were conducted in which more than 6000 children participated. The hardy youth of the higher reaches showed great enthusiasm for such events.

Running of Army Goodwill School
The inclusion of digital learning in Army Goodwill Schools empowers the students by getting them to become more interested in learning and expanding their horizon. Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd in continuation to its CSR sponsorship for 'Digitization of the Army Goodwill Schools' has sponsored 10 more schools for digitization. This project was executed by iDreams Social Edtech Foundation. The digitization has bought the AGSs at par with the best schools anywhere in the country. Teachers and students of these schools now have the access to the best instructional material in their tablets. The results of AGSs in 10th and 12th Board exams have been improving every year. In fact, it is one of the best in the UT of J & K and now it would further improve the teaching-learning methods, to the benefit of the students of these schools. This initiative of Power Grid Cooperation of India Limited towards making a difference to the lives of Kashmiri students, mostly from under privileged section, is praise worthy and it fructified under the command of Lt Gen B S Raju.

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Categories: Recipients of the Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Recipients of the Ati Vishisht Seva MedalSena Medal, Recipients of the Yudh Seva Medal, Recipients of the Sena Medal, National Defence Academy (India) alumni, Indian Military Academy alumni, Alumni of the Royal College of Defence Studies, 1963 births
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