New Delhi, April 17, 2014 (Agency)
Admiral R.K. Dhowan, a navigation and direction specialist, Thursday took over as the 22nd chief of the Indian Navy. He succeeds Admiral D.K. Joshi, who resigned in February following a string of accidents and had been the acting navy chief since then.
After taking over, Admiral Dhowan laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial to the Unknown Soldier at India Gate and then inspected an impressive Guard of Honour at South Block.
"For the navy to fulfil its mandate as a maritime security provider to the nation, attention would need to be paid at all levels to ensure that there were no gaps in our security preparedness," the admiral said after taking over.
The chain of succession armed forces' chiefs is usually guided by seniority. However, Dhowan supersedes his senior, Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, who was commissioned six months earlier in June 1974. Most of the accidents that prompted Admiral Joshi's resignation had taken place in the Mumbai-based Western Naval Command that Sinha heads.
Joshi had resigned following a fire in the INS Sindhuratna submarine, which left two sailors dead. Last year, there had been an explosion on the INS Sindhurakshak submarine after which it sank, killing the 18 crew members on board at the time.
Commissioned on Jan 1, 1975, Admiral Dhowan is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Defence Services Staff College and Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.
Admiral Dhowan, who was to retire May 31, will now get two more years of service. A navy chief can serve for three years or till the age of 62, whichever is earlier.
An official statement said Admiral Dhowan has commanded frontline warships INS Khukri, INS Ranjit and INS Delhi and served as Chief Staff Officer (Operations) at the Western Naval Command Headquarters.
He has also served as the naval attache at the Indian High Commission in London.
He has commanded the Eastern Fleet and served as Chief of Staff at Headquarters Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam.
He also has the distinction of commanding the prestigious NDA.
However, Admiral Dhowan has not headed either of the operational commands, which is considered a prerequisite for becoming the navy chief.