New Delhi: In second supersession affected in the armed forces by the Narendra Modi government, Eastern Naval Command chief Vice Admiral Karambir Singh was on Saturday was designated as the next Navy chief, succeeding Admiral Sunil Lanba who retires on May 31.
Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, who is around six months senior to Vice Admiral Singh, was superseded for the top job. The government made the selection following a merit-based approach and did not go with the tradition of appointing the senior-most eligible officer to the post, official sources said. This is the second time that the seniority principle has been discarded by the Modi government, the first being when Gen. Bipin Rawat was appointed Army chief in December 2016, superseding two officers senior to him.
Vice Admiral Singh is at present serving as the Flag Officer Command-ing in Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Eastern Naval Command in Visakha-patnam. He would be the first helicopter pilot of the Indian Navy to be appointed Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) and will be the Navy chief till November 2021.
According to reports, Vice Admiral Verma was principal director of naval operations as a commodore when the Navy war-room leak case erupted in 2005 and a letter of “severe displeasure” was issued to him at that time.
Commissioned into the Indian Navy in July 1980, Vice Admiral Singh earned his wings as a helicopter pilot in 1982 and has flown the Chetak and Kamov helicopters extensively.
Born on November 3, 1959, Vice Admiral Singh was commissioned into the Indian Navy on July 1, 1980.
A native of Jalandhar, Punjab, Vice Adm Singh graduated from Barnes School, Deolali, Maharashtra, before joining the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington; College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai, and later served as directing staff in both these Institutions.
In his career spanning over 39 years, the Admiral has commanded Indian Coast Guard Ship Chandbibi, Missile Corvette INS Vijaydurg as well as two Guided Missile Destroyers — INS Rana and INS Delhi. He has also served as the Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet.
Ashore, the Admiral has served at Naval Headquarters as the joint director Naval Air Staff, and as Captain Air and Officer-in-Charge of the Naval Air Station at Mumbai. He has also served as a member of the Aircrew Instrument Rating and Categorisation Board (AIRCATS).
On promotion to flag rank, the Admiral was appointed as Chief of Staff, ENC. His other important flag appointments include Chief of Staff of the Tri-Services Command at Andaman & Nicobar Islands and as the Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area (FOMAG).
In the rank of Vice Admiral, he has been the Director General Project Seabird, in-charge of infrastructure development of the Navy’s modern base at Karwar. He was also assigned higher responsibilities as Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Vice Chief of the Naval Staff at IHQ MoD (Navy) and as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief ENC since October 31, 2017.