Ad­mi­ral R.K. Dhowan

In­dia’s New Navy Chief

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - –Rear Ad­mi­ral (Retd) Sushil Ram­say

Ad­mi­ral Rabinder Ku­mar Dhowan, Vice Chief of Naval Staff and the of­fi­ci­at­ing CNS un­til April 16, 2014, was ap­proved by the Govern­ment of In­dia to be the 22nd Chief of the Naval Staff. He has be­come the 20th In­dian to be at the helm of the In­dian Navy. He is an alum­nus of the Na­tional De­fence Academy, Khadak­wasla and the De­fence Ser­vices Staff Col­lege, Welling­ton. In his long and distin­guished ser­vice span­ning over 39 years, he has served in a va­ri­ety of Com­mand, Staff and In­struc­tional ap­point­ments.

His Sea Com­mands in­clude guided mis­sile corvette INS Khukri, Kashin class guided mis­sile de­stroyer INS Ran­jit and indige­nous guided mis­sile de­stroyer INS Delhi.

He is a grad­u­ate of Naval War Col­lege, Rhode Is­land, USA. He was the Naval Ad­viser at the High Com­mis­sion of In­dia, Lon­don.

His im­por­tant staff ap­point­ments at Naval Head­quar­ters in­clude, Deputy Di­rec­tor, Naval Op­er­a­tions, Joint Di­rec­tor, Naval Plans and As­sis­tant Chief of Naval Staff (Pol­icy and Plans).

He has com­manded the East­ern Fleet, one of the op­er­a­tional fleets of the In­dian Navy. He has also served as the Se­nior In­struc­tor at the De­fence Ser­vices Staff Col­lege, Welling­ton.

His other im­por­tant ap­point­ments in­clude, Chief Staff Of­fi­cer (Op­er­a­tions), Head­quar­ters Western Naval Com­mand, Chief of Staff at Head­quar­ters East­ern Naval Com­mand the Com­man­dant Na­tional De­fence Academy, Khadak­wasla and the Vice Chief of Naval Staff. He is re­cip­i­ent of PVSM, AVSM, YSM and ADC. Ap­point­ment of Ad­mi­ral Robin Dhowan comes at a very cru­cial junc­ture when the In­dian Navy was ren­dered head­less for over 50 days, ow­ing to the un­timely res­ig­na­tion by his pre­de­ces­sor, Ad­mi­ral D.K. Joshi on the ster­ling grounds of tak­ing moral re­spon­si­bil­ity for a se­ries of mishaps on board ships and sub­marines of the In­dian Navy.

To com­pound to the ex­tra­or­di­nary sit­u­a­tion was the indecent and in­dis­creet hurry shown by the Govern­ment of In­dia in ac­cept­ing the res­ig­na­tion by Ad­mi­ral D.K. Joshi, in a mat­ter of few hours with­out any care or con­cern for the In­dian Navy which had in the re­cent decades suc­cess­fully cre­ated a niche for it­self by demon­strat­ing out­stand­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ism and op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­i­ties. This hasty de­ci­sion dealt a telling blow on the morale among the rank and file of the In­dian Navy, be­sides ad­versely af­fect­ing the day to day man­age­ment of af­fairs. In the world view the In­dian Navy was rel­e­gated to sus­pended an­i­ma­tion.

Ad­mi­ral Dhowan, a through pro­fes­sional to the core, will have lit­tle over two years to shoul­der the daunt­ing task of not just restor­ing, even fur­ther­ing the pres­tige of In­dian Navy to its right­ful pedestal. With a wide ar­ray of ap­point­ments he has held and the un­en­vi­able ex­pe­ri­ence gained thus far, un­doubt­edly Ad­mi­ral Robin Dhowan is best suited for the chal­lenges that stare the In­dian Navy to­day.

At this cru­cial junc­ture what the new Navy Chief re­quires in ad­di­tion to the good­will and all good wishes is the sup­port in sub­stan­tive terms. There are sev­eral press­ing is­sues re­lat­ing to mod­erni­sa­tion and ac­qui­si­tion of vi­tal as­sets for the In­dian Navy, which have been placed on the back-burner for in­ex­pli­ca­ble rea­sons. In­dian Navy is highly equip­ment ori­ented ser­vice and con­stantly re­quires tech­nol­ogy up­grades in true sense. This vi­tal tenet can­not be over­looked. For sus­tained growth and de­vel­op­ment of the In­dian Navy it re­quires ef­fi­cient and timely de­ci­sions, if the pre­cious re­sources of our coun­try were not to be frit­tered away due to in­dif­fer­ent and ca­sual at­ten­tion to the vi­tal needs of the In­dian Navy. There is no deny­ing the fact that the In­dian Navy ought to be a pow­er­ful three-di­men­sional mar­itime reck­on­able force ca­pa­ble of pro­tect­ing In­dia’s strate­gic in­ter­ests from the Per­sian Gulf to Malacca Strait and be­yond. This can only be achieved through ef­fi­cient and timely steer­ing of the indige­nous ships and sub­ma­rine build­ing pro­grammes, as also the avi­a­tion as­sets to be ac­quired on pri­or­ity.

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