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Robin K. Dhowan is New Naval Chief
Apr 18, 2014

Vice Admiral Robin K. Dhowan is the new chief of the Indian Navy. His appointment has been cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). Vice Admiral Dhowan had taken over as the acting Naval Chief on February 26 after the incumbent, Admiral D.K. Joshi put in his papers owning moral responsibility for a series of accidents. Vice Admiral Dhowan, who would have otherwise retired on May 31, will now serve for an additional two years.

Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, currently the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Western Naval Command, based in Mumbai, is senior to Vice Admiral Dhowan. He was tipped to be the next Navy Chief but a majority of the accidents that have plagued the Navy in the 7-8 months, have taken place in the Western Naval Command.

In March this year, a Commander-rank officer was killed in an accident on board a yet-to-be-operational Kolkata class destroyer. In February, two officers were killed in a fire that broke out aboard submarine INS Sindhuratna off the coast of Mumbai. In August last year, another submarine, INS Sindhurakshak sank in the Mumbai harbour after an explosion, killing 18 sailors. 

Vice Admiral Dhowan navigation and direction specialist, has never headed any operational command, but has held key positions and staff appointments during his career. His command appointments include missile corvette INS Khukri and guided missile destroyers INS Ranjit and INS Delhi. He was the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, based at Vishakhapatnam, one of the two operational commands of the Indian Navy.

The staff assignments held by him include Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Policy and Plans) at the force's New Delhi headquarters, Commandant of National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, Indian Naval Adviser at the High Commission of India, London and Chief Staff Officer (Operations) at the Western Naval Command headquarters.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy (45th Course, Charlie Squadron) and the Defence Services Staff College, he joined his first assignment aboard INS Delhi, in 1974. He was honoured with a telescope on being recognised as the Best Cadet of the ship. He was later awarded the Sword of Honour on completion of Midshipman training. He has undergone various courses in India and abroad, including the Sea Harrier Direction course at Yeovilton in the United Kingdom, and the Naval Command Course at Naval War College, Rhode Island, USA.

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