New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met the outgoing Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on the last day of his service on Saturday and said that his contributions of serving the nation for 42 years as a military leader have "strengthened India's defence capabilities and preparedness".

Earlier today, General MM Naravane received a guard of honour at the South Block lawns prior to relinquishing as Chief of the Army Staff. General Manoj Pande on Saturday took over as the new Chief of Army Staff from General Naravane.

Taking to Twitter, Rajnath Singh said, "Had a wonderful meeting with the Army Chief, General MM Naravane who is going to retire today after serving the nation for 42 years. His contributions as a military leader have strengthened India's defence capabilities & preparedness. I wish him success in his future endeavours."

General Naravane, along with his wife Veena Naravane, also called on President Ram Nath Kovind and First Lady Savita Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Gen Pande took over the charge from Gen Naravane in a brief ceremony at the South Black. Pande, who belongs to the 117 Engineers Regiment of the Indian Army, would be the 29th Army Chief.