Upset with a series of accidents that have hit the Navy in recent weeks, the Ministry of Defence is learnt to have conveyed its deepest concerns to Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi who was summoned to explain the incidents at least thrice in the past few weeks.
As reported by The Indian Express, at least eight incidents have taken place in the past two months involving frontline warships.
Among the many factors, sources said, cited by Joshi behind the spate of accidents, was the rapid expansion in warships without a corresponding increase in manpower. The explanation, however, has failed to impress the MoD since the Navy has always been given autonomy to plan its expansion.
The latest meeting took place on Monday when Navy chief was asked to explain reports that aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya suffered glitches in it power plant — boiler number 6 was believed to have suffered a minor breakdown — during its journey home from Russia. While Joshi is believed to have said that it was not a major glitch, the MoD has sought a detailed report.
On recurring mishaps, sources said, the Navy chief contended that while there were issues of standard operating procedures not being followed, problems are being experienced due to the rapid expansion in the number of platforms that the force operates. The Navy’s argument is that while platforms have increased, necessary clearances have not come to increase manpower at the technical and maintenance staff level, leading to faults at dock repair yards as well as the performance levels of warships.
However, a majority of the recent accidents involve human faults — from mowing down of a fishing boat off the coast of Maharashtra by INS Talwar to the grounding of at least two warships at Mumbai port. Other accidents include a fire onboard INS Konkan on Navy Day and significant damage to an amphibious landing ship after its propeller hit the bottom while coming to dock at Vizag.