New Delhi: Vice Admiral R K Dhowan may be the next Navy chief as the Defence Ministry has recommended his name to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the post which has been lying vacant for nearly two months since D K Joshi quit suddenly in the wake of a series of mishaps.
Dhowan, who has been the Acting Navy Chief since Joshi's exit, was in contention for the top job along with Western Navy Commander Shekhar Sinha and Eastern Commander Anil Chopra.
Vice Admiral Sinha is the seniormost among the three but he has been edged out of the race, apparently because majority of the 14 mishaps, including two major submarine accidents, took place under his command during the last 10 months.
“The Defence Ministry has recommended the name of Acting chief Vice Admiral Robin Dhowan for the appointment and the Prime Minister's Office will go through the file before taking a final decision on the matter,” top government sources said here.
If confirmed by the Prime Minister, 59-year-old Dhowan will have a tenure of 25 months as Chief of Naval Staff. Admiral Joshi, who had 15 months left in service, resigned on February 26 in the wake of a mishap involving submarine INS Sindhuratna in which two Navy officers lost their lives and several others were left injured.
A few months earlier, another submarine Sindhurakshak had drowned, killing 18 personnel on board. The sudden resignation by Admiral Joshi resulted in the change in the line of succession of the Navy. Had he retired in August next year as per his tenure, Southern Navy Commander Vice Admiral Satish Soni would have become the next chief. In the new circumstances, National Defence College Commandant Vice Admiral Sunil Lamba is expected to be the successor of Dhowan in May 2016.