Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi today resigned taking "moral responsibility" over the spate of mishaps involving naval warships in the last seven months.
Joshi, who had about 15 months more left in service, submitted his resignation hours after submarine INS Sindhuratna had a mishap in which seven sailors were taken seriously ill and two officers were missing.
The Defence Ministry immediately accepted his resignation and ordered that Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral R K Dhowan should take over as the Acting Chief till regular Chief is appointed.
"Taking moral responsibility for the accidents and incidents which have taken place during the past few months, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral D K Joshi resigned from the post of Navy Chief," Defence Ministry said.
"The Government has accepted the resignation of Admiral Joshi with immediate effect," it said.
In his resignation letter, Joshi said though the government continued to repose faith is his capabilities, it was becoming untenable for him to continue as the head of the maritime force in terms of accountability.
This would be the first time in the last 15 years that a Naval chief has had to leave office in controversial circumstances after Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat was sacked by the NDA Government in 1998 when George Fernandes was the Defence Minister. Joshi served in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments during his 41-year career including the captainship of guided missile corvette INS Kuthar, guided missile destroyer INS Ranvir and the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
In senior ranks, Joshi served as Assistant Chief of Personnel (Human Resource Development), in Warship Production and Acquisition as the Assistant Controller of the Aircraft Carrier Programme (ACCP), and thereafter in the Operations Branch both as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Information Warfare and Operations) and as the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.
Today's mishap was the 10th involving an Indian Navy warship and the third involving a submarine in the last seven months since the sinking of INS Sindhurakshak in August in which all 18 personnel on board were killed. [Read on Navy accidents since August 2013]
INS Sindhuratna was at sea off Mumbai for routine training and workup (inspection) in the early hours of today, when smoke was reported in the sailors’ accommodation, in compartment number three, by the submarine, the Navy said in a press release.
Western Command's Commodore Commanding Submarine (COMCOS) Commodore S R Kapoor was on board the vessel carrying out an inspection before it was to be cleared for operational duties, Navy officials said.
"We immediately activated our emergency firefighting exercise and seven personnel who had inhaled smoke were airlifted to a hospital. Two officials are unaccounted for. They might have been left in the cabin or at some other place as various cabins and compartments are isolated as part of the emergency measures," the officers said.
The injured has been admitted to the naval hospital INS Ashwini after they were airlifted by Seaking multirole helicopters in multiple sorties.
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Twiterrati on Navy Chief's Quitting
Time is now for V.K. Singh and even Admiral Joshi join BJP and make a strong national security team— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) February 26, 2014
'I consider my continuation as Chief untenable': Full text of Navy chief Admiral DK Joshi's resignation letter. | pic.twitter.com/MGDjr5cFhz— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) February 26, 2014
#AdmiralJoshi resign with 15 months to go. Mirror to Netas. Will C-of-I be swept under d carpet?— Harry Rakhraj (@harryrakhrajk) February 26, 2014
ADMIRAL JOSHI , long awaited example of Moral Courage and Nation First in practice.— Brig V S Ruhil (@BrigVirenderR) February 26, 2014
CNS Admiral Devinder Joshi quits taking moral responsibility for recent mishaps. But the buck Shud stop at AK Antony for sitting on files— GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) February 26, 2014