Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Wednesday took over as the chairperson of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, reported the Hindustan Times.

The chairperson of the Chiefs of Staff Committee was the the seniormost post in the armed forces before the designation of the chief of defence staff was created two years ago.

Naravane has been appointed to the post on a stop-gap basis after Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat died in a helicopter crash on December 8, along with his Madhulika Rawat and 12 others. The Indian Air Force chopper had crashed in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor town.

Group Captain Varun Singh, who was hospitalised after the crash, also succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday. Singh had been on life support at a hospital in Bengaluru.

Unidentified officials told India Today that Naravane will remain on the post till a new chief of defence staff is appointed.

“It is a procedural step that in the absence of a CDS, the seniormost chief takes over as the chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee,” the official told India Today.

Naravane took over as the chief of the committee as he was the seniormost among the three heads of defence services.