NEW DELHI: The government on Saturday approved the name of Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh to take charge as the 24th Chief of Naval Staff after Admiral Sunil Lanba retires on May 31.
Vice-Admiral Singh would be the first helicopter pilot to become navy chief. However, he will supersede Vice-Admiral Bimal Verma. Sources said the selection was merit-based and several factors gave an edge to Singh.
Vice-Admiral Singh is currently the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command. He was commissioned into the Indian Navy in July 1980 after graduating from the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla.
He earned his wings as a helicopter pilot in 1982 and has extensive experience of flying the Chetak and Kamov helicopters. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai, and later served as Directing Staff in both institutions.
Vice-Admiral Verma was sent as the FOC to Andaman and Nicobar, a tri-service command, in 2016 and has been posted there since.
He was overlooked for the Western and Eastern commands which is considered mandatory for any navy chief.
The Vice Admiral’s name was under scrutiny in the 2005 Navy War Room leak scandal. He was the principal director of naval operations when the case unravelled.
While his deputy and two other commanders directly under him were dismissed, he was given only a “severe displeasure” note by the then vice-chief.
Sources mentioned that his service record had the mention of the Navy war room leak case.