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R K Dhowan takes over as new Navy chief

New Delhi, Apr 17 (PTI): Robin K Dhowan took over as chief of the Indian Navy on Thursday, nearly two months after Admiral D K Joshi quit the post following a series of accidents involving the navy’s ageing fleet.

Admiral Dhowan, 59, who has been the acting Navy chief since Joshi's exit, has been appointed the Chief of Navy Staff superseding Western Naval Commander Shekhar Sinha.

He will have a tenure of 25 months, retiring in May 2016.

Sinha was the senior-most Vice-Admiral but he has been edged out of the race, apparently because majority of the 14 accidents, including two major ones involving submarines, took place under his command during the last 10 months.

Joshi, who had 15 months left in service, resigned on February 26 following the accident involving submarine INS Sindhuratna in which two Navy officers were killed and several others were injured.

In August last year, submarine INS Sindhurakshak sank at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, killing 18 personnel on board.

The sudden resignation by Joshi changed the line of succession in the Navy.

Had he retired in August next year as per his tenure, Southern Naval Commander Vice-Admiral Satish Soni would have become the next chief.

Under the new circumstances, National Defence College Commandant Vice-Admiral Sunil Lamba is expected to succeed Dhowan in May 2016.

Dhowan, who is the 22nd Navy chief, has taken over the reins of the force at a time when it is grappling with accidents involving its warships and other assets.

Dhowan, who had been the Vice-Chief of the force since August 2011, was supposed to superannuate on May 31, this year.

Defence Minister A K Antony had recommended the name of Dhowan, who was in contention for the top job along with Western Naval Commander Sinha and Eastern Commander Anil Chopra.

Though he has not headed any operational command, Dhowan has held various key positions and staff appointments during his career.

His command appointments include missile corvette INS Khukri, guided missile destroyers INS Ranjit and INS Delhi and Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet (FOCEF).

The Admiral's staff assignments include key posts such as Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Policy and Plans) at the headquarters in New Delhi, Commandant of National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, Indian Naval Adviser at the High Commission of India in London and Chief Staff Officer (Operations) at Headquarters of Western Naval Command.

A navigation and direction specialist, Dhowan is an alumnus of National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College and Naval War College, Rhode Island, USA.


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