Dhowan officiating Navy chief
Vice Admiral R K Dhowan who would officiate as caretaker Navy chief is a former skipper of “INS Delhi” – India’s biggest destroyer – and fleet commander of the eastern fleet.
Dhowan, who took over as Vice Chief of Naval Staff in August 31, 2011, also commanded missile corvette “INS Khukri” and guided missile destroyers “INS Ranjit”, besides serving as the deputy chief of naval staff, and assistant chief of the naval staff (Policy and Plans) at the headquarters in New Delhi.
Before the sudden resignation of Admiral D K Joshi, Dhowan was slated to retire on May, 2014.
A navigation and direction specialist, Dhowan is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, the Defence Services Staff College and Naval War College, Rhode Island, USA.
Dhowan, however, is not the senior-most officer in the Navy. The senior-most at the moment is Vice Admiral Sekhar Sinha, who heads the Western Naval Command in Mumbai and is due for retirement in November, 2014.
The mismatch between the two retirement dates arises because the Navy follow a system in which an officer’s date of birth is taken into account while calculating a person’s retirement date. Sinha, a naval aviator, and Dhowan are the two senior most officers.
If the government picks one of them as the next Navy chief, the person will get two additional years in service because the four-star officers (three service chiefs) retire at 62 unlike the three-star officers who retire at 60.