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Rediff.com  » News » Navy chief heads to Vizag, will review progress on N-sub INS Arihant

Navy chief heads to Vizag, will review progress on N-sub INS Arihant

April 29, 2014 10:52 IST

Adm R K Dhowan is also likely to take a closer look at the submarine building assembly line at the Naval Dockyard co-located with the Eastern Naval Command, on his maiden visit to a field command since taking over, reports RS Chauhan.

The newly-appointed Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral RK Dhowan, will start a two-day tour of the Eastern Naval Command when he arrives at Visakhapatnam later today on his maiden visit to a field command.

Adm Dhowan, who superseded Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha to become the Navy chief, will take stock of the Eastern Naval Command's preparedness and review the progress of INS Arihant, India's first indigenously-manufactured nuclear-powered and eventually to be nuclear-armed submarine based in Vizag.

INS Arihant went 'critical' last year (that is, the miniature nuclear reactor on board started operating). Several harbour trials have taken place. It will now undergo sea trial before being inducted as a fully operational platform in the Indian Navy.

Adm Dhowan is also likely to take a closer look at the submarine building assembly line at the Naval Dockyard co-located with the Eastern Naval Command. India is reportedly building three more nuclear subs at this facility.

Meanwhile, the current Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, is expected to replace VAdm Shekhar Sinha when his papers for voluntary retirement are processed. VAdm Chopra's move to the Western Naval Command in Mumbai will trigger a chain of changes at the top in the naval hierarchy. VAdm Satish Soni, currently C-in-C, Southern Naval Command in Kochi, is likely to replace VAdm Chopra at the Eastern Naval Command.

VAdm SPS Cheema, currently heading the Strategic Forces Command (a post rotated among the three services) is likely to move to Cochin while the current Deputy Chief of Naval Staff V Adm PK Chatterjee will most likely take charge as Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman & Nicobar Command, replacing the incumbent Air Marshal PKRoy who retires at the end of May. The Port Blair-based Andaman Nicobar Command is also a tri-services command that gets its top man from the three services by rotation.

Once VAdm Chatterjee moves to Port Blair, VAdm Sunil Lanba, currently Commandant of the NationalDefenceCollege in Delhi, is likely to be posted as Vice Chief of Naval Staff, a post held by Adm Dhowan until he was elevated as Navy chief. Lanba's move will entail an Army Lt General taking over as Commandant of NDC, again a post that is rotated among the three armed forces.

If everything moves according to the plan, VAdm Sunil Lanba will take over as the Navy Chief once Adm Dhowan completes his tenure in May 2016. All these changes have come about because Adm DK Joshi suddenly resigned taking moral responsibility in the wake of a spate of accidents in the Navy, upsetting well laid out plans. The biggest beneficiary of the sudden resignation of Adm Joshi is Adm Dhowan who would have otherwise retired on May 31 this year as Vice Chief of Naval Staff!

RS Chauhan in New Delhi