The Indian Navy had announced in March that Vice Admiral Karambir Singh will be its next chief. However, on Monday, Vice Admiral Bimal Verma moved the Armed Forces Tribunal against his supersession and appointment of Singh. In his petition, the Vice Admiral has challenged the government's move to ignore seniority and appoint his junior as the next chief of Navy. Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba will vacate the office on May 31, 2019. Singh will supersede Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, who is the seniormost in terms of length of service.
“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 had 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.
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.
As per reports, this wass the second time when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government had not gone by seniority but merit among the senior most officers. Singh has been heading the Port Blair based Andaman and Nicobar Command for almost three years now. He is from 56th course of the National Defence Academy's Hunter Squadron. The first time the government had gone by seniority was during the appointment of General Bipin Rawat as Army Chief in 2016.