NEW DELHI: In the first such move in the military since Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister, the central government has approved a reshuffle in the Navy, in which two vacancies had been caused by the resignation of then chief Admiral D K Joshi and voluntary retirement of then Western Naval Commander Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha after being superseded. It also named a new Navy vice chief.
The government approved the transfer of Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Commander Anil Chopra, the second senior most naval officer after chief Admiral Robin Dhowan, was posted to the Mumbai-based Western Naval Command, sources said here Saturday.
Chopra will be replaced in the East by Kochi-based Southern Naval Commander Satish Soni and his place will be taken by the present Strategic Forces Commander Vice Admiral S P S Cheema, sources said.
Two other Vice Admirals have got promoted to the commander rank in the process, with the National Defence College Commandant Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba being appointed the navy vice chief, they said.
Dhowan was the vice chief under Joshi and after his appointment as chief in April, by the then UPA government, in the wake of the latter's resignation in February over naval accidents, the post of vice chief too became vacant.
Sinha went out of the service on voluntary retirement after his junior Dhowan superseded him to the coveted chief's post.
Present Navy Deputy Chief Vice Admiral Pradeep Chatterjee has now been promoted as commander and has been posted to Port Blair as the tri-service Andaman and Nicobar Command as chief, sources said.
Vice Admiral Gireesh Luthra will now be the new Deputy Chief in the Integrated Defence Staff headquarters in Delhi, while Vice Admiral R K Pattanaik will go the Navy headquarters as Deputy Chief, they added.