When Lieutenant General Sir Roy Bucher’s appointment as the C-in-C of the Indian Army was about to expire in January 1949, it was decided to replace him with an Indian. Cariappa, Shrinagesh, and Nathu Singh were the contenders for the post. Though Shrinagesh was six months older than Cariappa, he had not served as long as Cariappa had; Nathu Singh had served two-and-a-half years less. But the Interim Government’s Defence Minister Baldev Singh was not in favour of Cariappa. He contacted Shrinagesh and Nathu Singh asking for their opinion of being appointed as C-in-C. Since both declined the offer, Cariappa took over as the first native commander-in-chief of the Indian Army.