Navy post

Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, Aug. 27: The government today announced that Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha would take over as the next chief of the navy's "sword arm", the western naval command, going by the book and stemming the possibility of a row over senior posts.

The senior-most naval aviator Vice-Admiral Sinha is the only officer to have flown all the types of fighter aircraft from the carriers INS Vikrant (since de-commissioned) and the INS Viraat.

He is currently the chief of the integrated defence staff to the chairman, chiefs of staff committee. The flag-officer-commanding-in-chief (FOC-in-C), western naval command, is a post currently occupied by Vice-Admiral D.K. Joshi.

Joshi is slated to take over as the next chief of naval staff from Admiral Nirmal Verma on September 1. Sinha is a batchmate of Joshi.

The race for the post of the FOC-in-C, western naval command, was marked by an effort to move the current vice chief, Vice-Admiral Robin Dhowan, to Mumbai. Sinha is senior to Dhowan but all the FOC-in-Cs and the vice-chief are of equivalent rank.

Last year, Sinha had filed a statutory complaint to the government asking to be considered for a FOC-in-C post.