Monday, April 21, 2014

Indian Navy hit by stiff waves

First the submarine (Sindhurakhshak) exploded killing 18 sailors. Next another sub (Sindhuratna) caught fire and two more sailors were lost. Admiral DK Joshi assumed moral responsibility and resigned. Now the ripples have extended to appointment of the new admiral as well.

Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha has resigned as Robin Dhowan has been promoted ahead of him. Such events fall in the rarest of rare category- General AS Vaidya became Army chief in 1983 ahead of  Lieutenant general SK Sinha, and Air Chief Marshal SK Mehra became IAF chief by superseding Air Marshal MM Singh

The government, on Monday, approved the "voluntary retirement" of Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, who had put in his papers after Admiral Robin Dhowan superseded him to become Navy chief last week, even as the Army commanders' conference kicked off amid uncertainty over its own line of succession.

The Navy is now headed for a reshuffle in its top brass, with the two crucial posts of vice-chief and WNC (Western Naval Command) chief becoming vacant. The force's line of succession, of course, has also gone for a complete toss, with present National Defence College commandant Vice Admiral Sunil Lamba now slated to succeed Admiral Dhowan as the Navy chief in May 2016.

The defence ministry felt that Vice Admiral Sinha had to take his share of the blame for the recent string of warship mishaps under the WNC. This came after Admiral D K Joshi owned "moral responsibility"for the accidents and quit as the Navy chief on February 26 — a resignation which was accepted by the MoD with unseemly haste.

But the MOD's junking of the seniority principle has sparked some concern in military circles because successive governments have almost always stuck to it in appointing service chiefs. The chain of seniority in Indian military is considered virtually sacrosanct, with supersession being exceptionally rare.


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