Bangalorean to take over as Western Fleet Commander

Bangalorean Navy officer to take over as Fleet Commander of Western Fleet

Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan. (DH Photo)

Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, a Bangalorean and alumni of Bishop Cotton Boys School, on Friday has taken over as the fleet commander of the Western Fleet, the sword arm of the Indian Navy.

Apart from the famous Bengaluru school, he also studied at Sainik School, Bijapur before joining the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla in 1983.

"My task would be to maintain the highest level of readiness for the ships for offensive combat power on the western sea board," Swaminathan told DH in a brief interview.

The western sea board remains at the prime focus of Indian Navy because of its proximity to Pakistan and the fluid situation in the Persian Gulf.

As the fleet commander, Rear Admiral Swaminathan would be having surface ships like guided-missile destroyers, guided-missile frigates, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and the fleet support ships under his command.

While submarines are generally under the Commodore Commanding Submarines (COMCOS West in this case) but in any operation involving surface ships and underwater boats, it is the Fleet Commander who retains the tactical command.

In a serendipitous Karnataka connection, Rear Admiral Swaminathan in his three-decade-long career had an opportunity to command INS Mysore – Indian Navy's only warship with a clear link to the yesteryear's princely state.

Besides he led missile boats INS Vidyut and INS Vinash as well as the missile corvette INS Kulish. He also served as the Chief Staff Officer (Training) at the Southern Naval Command.

Swaminathan was the second skipper of India's lone aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya that was inducted at Severodvinsk in Russia in November 2013.

"The carrier has come a long way in terms of operational capability with the availability of MiG-29K fighter jets and Kamov helicopters. Day-Night landing from the deck is now regular. But as five years have elapsed, the ship may go into an operational refit, which is due," he said.

Asked about the shortage of helicopter that Indian Navy is facing, Swaminathan said, "We have to fight with whatever we have. I will maintain the highest level of combat capability for the ships and men under my command."

On the expansion of Karwar naval base in north Karnataka, he observed that it would be the biggest naval base in Asia under Project Sea Bird once the ongoing projects would be finished.

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