On Wednesday, a military tribunal had allowed Singh to take charge as the new Navy chief. (File photo)
Admiral Karambir Singh took over as new Navy Chief at a solemn ceremony on Friday. Outgoing chief of naval staff Admiral Sunil Lanba said that, “the Navy is mission-ready to meet maritime security challenges. I am pleased to hand over my responsibilities to my very capable successor.” On Wednesday, a military tribunal had allowed Singh to take charge as the new Navy chief on Friday as it deferred hearing on a petition challenging his appointment by nearly seven weeks.
Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command Vice Admiral Bimal Verma had approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) here challenging the appointment of Vice Admiral Singh as the next Navy Chief, overlooking his seniority.
Admiral Karambir Singh PVSM AVSM ADC assumes charge as the 24th Chief of the Naval Staff @PMOIndia @DefenceMinIndia @SpokespersonMoD @PIB_India @DG_PIB @airnewsalerts @rashtrapatibhvn pic.twitter.com/KacUA2xKnd— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) May 31, 2019
"The AFT posted the matter for hearing on July 17 as government sought more time for placing records relating to Vice Admiral Singh''s appointment before the tribunal," Singh was appointed as the next Chief of Naval Staff by the Narendra Modi government. Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba will vacate the office on May 31, 2019. “The Admiral is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. Commissioned into the Indian Navy in July 1980, the Admiral earned his wings as a helicopter pilot in 1982 and has flown extensively on the Chetak and Kamov helicopters. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington; College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai and has served as Directing Staff in both these institutions,” the navy said in a statement.
“In his career spanning nearly 36 years, the Admiral has commanded an Indian Coast Guard Ship, a Naval Missile Corvette as well as Guided Missile Destroyers. He has also served as the Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet. Ashore, the Admiral has served at Naval Headquarters as the Joint Director Naval Air Staff, and as Captain Air and Officer-in-Charge of the Naval Air Station at Mumbai,” the statement added.
With a coastline of over seven thousand km, Indian Navy has is the ultimate challenge of protecting not just the water ways but also counter China in the Indian Ocean. In January this year, the Navy had commissioned a new air base in the strategically located Andaman and Nicobar islands as part of efforts to expand operational presence in the Indian Ocean where China has been increasing its military presence.
The new base -- INS Kohassa was inaugurated by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba in the presence of top naval commanders. Over a year back, the Navy had implemented a new plan for deployment of warships in the Indian Ocean region to effectively counter China's growing presence in the strategically key waters. The "new mission-based deployment" plan involves deploying mission-ready ships and aircraft along critical sea lanes of communications.
The Navy has also been involved in numerous humanitarian missions. The most recent one was three ships were sent to cyclone-hit Mozambique. The first training squadron of the Indian Navy -- Sujata, Sarathi and Shardul -- operating in the Southern Indian Ocean, were diverted to Port Beira, following a request received from the government of Mozambique.
Amid tension with Pakistan and China flexing muscles in the international waters, Indian Navy’s next chief will have a tough road ahead. Meanwhile, on March 19, the navy had conducted TROPEX 19, the exercise to test the operational readiness. Lessons learnt from the exercise would provide the Navy accurate assessments to fine tune combat deployment, force structuring requirements, operational logistics as also material and training imperatives, a release said.