VISAKHAPATNAM: In the run up to the International Fleet Review 2016, the Indian Navy has reportedly asked its Eastern and Western Commands to keep in abeyance all pending disciplinary actions, including the court martial against naval personnel. The decision is said to be a result of staff crisis and any disciplinary action would be taken only after the events.
Over the last couple of years, the Indian Navy has witnessed a series of accidents and investigations were conducted to zero in on the causes of these accidents. While a few investigations have been completed, others are still underway. However, several trained and efficient officers and also sailors against whom the inquiries were ordered, were withdrawn from their regular duties. There are also officers who were withdrawn from their regular duties due to pending disciplinary proceedings for offences like not following the orders of their superiors and even for driving without helmets.
The IFR 2016 is one of the major maritime events in the history of Indian Navy and a large number of naval personnel, including top ranking officers, are involved in its massive arrangements. Nearly 10,000 delegates, including 6,000 foreigners, are expected to attend the event. As a result, the Navy, already understaffed, is in need of all its personnel to perform various duties ranging from the ground to the onboard duties. Moreover, major Naval units are understaffed as many of their onboard staff have also been deployed on temporary duties for IFR involving making of special publications, coordinating with international delegates etc.
Observing that there is a crisis, the top officials are learnt to have asked their Commands to keep in abeyance all pending disciplinary actions against its personnel to avoid further shortage of staff. “For several months now, majority of these officers particularly those on the submarines have been grounded. They are either sitting at home or doing desk jobs until further orders. But following the latest orders, they are likely to be temporarily allowed to assist in the IFR arrangements pending disciplinary proceedings against them,” said a top Navy officer.
It was only three weeks ago that Defence minister Manohar Parrikar informed that the Army was facing a shortage of 9,106 officers, while the Navy falls short of 1,467 officers. He stated that the security needs are being met by the optimum utilisation of the available strength by prioritisation of activities and reliance on high motivation of the personnel.