Joshi says resignation was voluntary

Former Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi said he only consulted his wife Chitra before resigning from his post taking moral responsibility for a series of major and minor accidents that plagued the Navy in the last six months.

“I consulted only my wife before taking the decision to resign. After the submarine mishap, I was firm that I should take the responsibility for it,” the Admiral said in his internal message to senior officers of the Navy. His wife stood by him.

Defence Minister A K Antony, on the other hand, said he had consulted everybody, including the Prime Minister, before accepting Joshi’s resignation.

The minister, who in the last naval commanders’ conference on November 20 asked the Navy Chief to ensure that naval assets and hardware are “optimally utilised and are not frittered away” said he was sad over Joshi’s decision.

“I consulted everybody. I met the Prime Minister also. Ultimately, we took a decision to accept the resignation. He is a very good Admiral and a fine human being,” Antony said.

The minister on Thursday cancelled commissioning of the shore-based testing facility at Goa over the weekend in the absence of a regular Navy chief. The facility is meant for flying practice of pilots for MiG-29K fighters, who will operate from the decks of India’s latest aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. Later, it will be used for pilots of LCA Navy too.

Antony and the prime minister will be in a quandary over the next few weeks on the selection of the next Navy Chief as several accidents involving warships took place under the watch of the Flag-Officer Commanding in Chiefs of the Western and Eastern Naval command, who will be in the contention. Majority of the accidents, including those in the INS Sindhurakshak and INS Sindhuratna, happened at the western command, which is the sword arm of Indian Navy. Two serious naval accidents involving INS Talwar and INS Betwa, too, happened in the Western Command.

Western naval command chief Vice-Admiral Sekhar Sinha is the senior-most officer, who will meet Antony shortly. Sinha and Joshi are from the same batch and in the normal course Sinha is to retire in November 2014.

Though there are rumours of Sinha, too, putting in his papers following Joshi, there is no confirmation from the Navy or the Defence Ministry.

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