After serving for more than four decades, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba passed on the baton to Vice Admiral Karambir Singh, who took over as the Navy chief at a ceremony in South Block on Friday. The switch-over is taking place in the backdrop of a succession row triggered by Andaman and Nicobar command chief Bimal Verma challenging the appointment of Karambir Singh as the new chief. Verma’s plea against overlooking him for the top post despite being the senior-most officer is pending in the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) though the Defence Ministry has rejected his objection.
AFT on Wednesday allowed Karambir Singh to take over till a decision on the petition comes. Lanba’s retirement has led to changes at the top of the defence establishment. Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain took over as the eastern fleet commander from Karambir Singh.
Air Chief B.S. Dhanoa replaced Lanba as Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), a tri-service integrated body. A total of 49 ships and submarines are currently under construction in Indian shipyards, including the first indigenous aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’, the statement said.
(With inputs from agencies)