Selection of Naval officers for critical command under scanner

Navy removed several commanding officers after spate of mishaps.

New Delhi | Published: February 5, 2014 5:01:08 am

The selection of Naval officers to sensitive positions as well as to command of frontline warships has come under the scanner after several officers have been removed following a spate of accidents and inquiries.

At least three officers commanding warships that met with accidents in the past two months have been removed from command while the head of the Naval war room was earlier recommended for dismissal on charges of ‘moral turpitude’ after an affair that ended bitterly.

The Defence Ministry has expressed concern over selection process of officers to critical appointments, specially to the command of frontline battleships. As reported by this newspaper, at least eight incidents involving Naval warships have come to light within two months.

While it had initially been in denial over its ‘safety record’, the Navy has over the past few weeks removed several captains involved in the incidents, including those of the INS Airavat, INS Betwa and the INS Talwar. Some action is expected against captain of INS Tarkash that suffered a deep gash after it banged hard at the Mumbai port while docking.
What raised concern in the Defence Ministry is that in most accidents of warships, there was human error with the ship not following standing operating protocol or set navigation pattern. The ministry is likely to go deeper into accidents to understand whether there is a common link and a need for a major overhaul in appointment of officers.
Head of the Naval operations directorate, Captain Manoj Rawat had been recommended for dismissal after a woman sent evidence, with photos and videos of their affair. The woman sent in Naval documents as proof, raising questions on security.
An overhaul in selection and monitoring of officers — it came to light last week that an officer illegally conducted a sky diving camp in Tamil Nadu in which a Bangalore girl died —is likely.

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