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Defence Ministry initiates process to find new Navy Chief

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Defence Ministry on Thursday initiated the process find a new successor to former Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi, who resigned following a spate of accidents involving naval warships in the last seven months.

The process to appoint a new Navy Chief has been initiated by the Defence Ministry in which four-five senior officers would be considered for appointment as the next leader of the maritime force, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

His resignation was promptly accepted by Defence Minister A K Antony and Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral R K Dhowan was asked to take over as the Acting Chief till regular Chief is appointed.

As per seniority, Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, acting Navy Chief Vice Admiral Dhowan, Eastern Naval Commander Vice Admiral Anil Chopra and Strategic Forces Commander Vice Admiral SPS Cheema would be considered for the appointment.

Taking "moral responsibility", Joshi submitted his resignation on Wednesday, hours after fire and smoke on submarine INS Sindhuratna in which two officers died and seven sailors were taken seriously ill.

Vice Admiral Sinha, who is Commander of Western Naval Command, has been under scanner after a number of accidents took place under his command.

He was even summoned to the Naval headquarters last month after a series of mishaps involving naval warships there and was pulled up by Admiral Joshi in his office.

The Defence Ministry is also miffed with him but it is not clear whether action would be initiated against him or not.

The sudden decision by the Navy chief will also result in the change in the line of succession of the force as Southern Naval Commander Vice Admiral Satish Soni was supposed to succeed Joshi in August 2015.

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