New Delhi: The Indian Navy is witnessing a major rejig of top brass this week. Vice Admiral Karambir Singh will take charge as the new Navy Chief on May 31 as Admiral Sunil Lanba, who is the current chief, will complete his tenure and retire tomorrow after over four decades of service.

Singh's appointment as the next navy chief was challenged by Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command Vice Admiral Bimal Verma who had approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). Verma in his petition has said that Singh's appointment was made overlooking his seniority. However, the military tribunal on Wednesday allowed Vice Admiral Karambir Singh to take charge as the new Navy Chief on May 31 and deferred the hearing on a petition challenging his appointment by nearly seven weeks.

The tribunal had earlier directed the defence ministry to decide Verma’s petition within three weeks. Rejecting Verma’s plea, the ministry said a thorough selection process was conducted under which service profile of all contenders was examined.

Also read: Govt to explain to tribunal why seniority was overlooked in selection of next Navy chief  

While Singh was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1980, Verma was commissioned into the Navy in 1979. Admiral Verma is the brother of Admiral Nirmal Verma, former Chief of Naval Staff between 2009-12. This is the second occasion when the Modi government has not appointed the senior most officers as service chiefs. Earlier the government has overlooked seniority even in case of Army chief General Bipin Rawat, who superseded two officers.

While Vice Admiral Karambir Singh will be promoted to the rank of Admiral on May 31, he will be shifting from the Eastern Naval Command. He will be replaced by Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain who took charge as the new Eastern Naval Commander on Thursday.

A Gunnery and Missile Specialist, Vice Admiral has held various operational, staff and command appointments in the course of his career spanning over 37 years. Vice Admiral Jain has commanded INS Nirghat (Missile Boat), INS Khukri (Missile Corvette), INS Rajput (Destroyer) and the indigenously built Destroyer, INS Mysore. 

Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh will also be shifted to the headquarters of the Integrated Defence Staff at New Delhi. Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh will take over as the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Doctrine, Organisation and Training) at Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff at New Delhi. He moves on to his new appointment from the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy at Mumbai, where he was the Chief of Staff for the last 17 months.