Singh enlisted in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in December 1982. He was commissioned as a signals officer in December 1986 and served in active duty with the United Nations Iraq–Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) in Kuwait in 1991. In 1995, he attended the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Throughout his military career, he has held various other appointments, including: Head, System Development Group; Commander, 2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade; Commander, 6th Division. In 2009, he retired from active military service as Chief of Staff, Joint Staff and transited to a civil servant as Deputy Secretary (Technology), Ministry of Defence.
In 2011, Singh was recalled back to active service and succeeded Chan Chun Sing as the Chief of Army on 25 March 2011 and held this appointment until 21 March 2014, when he was succeeded by Perry Lim. Singh, who is of Punjabi Indian descent and a Sikh by religion, is the first non-Chinese Singaporean to serve as the Chief of Army since 1982.
Brigadier-General (BG) Perry Lim Cheng Yeow, currently Chief of Staff – General Staff, took over from Major-General (MG) Ravinder Singh s/o Harchand Singh as Chief of Army on 21 March 2014. This change is part of the continuing process of leadership renewal in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF).
Since his enlistment in 1982, MG Ravinder Singh, 49, has served the SAF with distinction. Through the course of his career, MG Ravinder Singh has held the appointments of Commanding Officer, 3rd Signal Battalion; Commander, 2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade; Assistant Chief of the General Staff (Plans); Head, Joint Plans and Transformation Department; Commander, 6th Division; Chief of Staff – Joint Staff; and Deputy Secretary (Technology).
As Chief of Army, MG Ravinder Singh maintained a high state of operational readiness in the Army. He orchestrated the Army’s peace support operations in Afghanistan, which included the deployment of Imagery Analyst Teams, Medical Teams as well as Military Institutional Trainers. In the area of capability development, MG Ravinder Singh oversaw the operationalisation of significant 3rd Generation Army capabilities, such as the Motorised Infantry Battalion and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System Battery.
A firm believer in commitment to defence (C2D), MG Ravinder Singh implemented numerous initiatives to strengthen C2D and public engagement. This included holding the Army Open House at the F1 Pit Building in 2012 and extending the exhibition on the SAF’s operations in Afghanistan to the heartlands in 2013, both of which brought the Army closer to Singaporeans. He has been a key member of the Committee to Strengthen National Service. He strongly supported efforts to strengthen National Service and enhance recognition for National Servicemen.