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Was Firm on Taking Responsibility for Mishap: Navy Chief

A day after resigning as Navy Chief, Admiral D K Joshi today wrote to his colleagues, saying he was "firm" on taking responsibility for the mishaps that have taken place.

"I consulted only myself and my wife before taking the decision to resign. After the submarine mishap, I was firm that I should take the responsibility for it," he said in his internal message to senior officers of the Navy.

Taking "moral responsibility", Joshi submitted his resignation yesterday, hours after fire and smoke on submarine INS Sindhuratna in which two officers died and seven sailors were taken seriously ill.

In his resignation letter, Joshi said though the government continued to repose faith is his capabilities, it was becoming untenable for him to continue as the head of the maritime force in terms of accountability.

His resignation was promptly accepted by Defence Minister A K Antony and Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral R K Dhowan was asked to take over as the Acting Chief till regular Chief is appointed.

Joshi, who became the first chief of the Navy to resign over accidents, had about 15 months more left in service.

After the Navy was hit by the 10th mishap yesterday involving its warships in the last seven months, a concerned Defence Ministry had sought a detailed report from the force.

Joshi served in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments during his 41-year career including the captainship of guided missile corvette INS Kuthar, guided missile destroyer INS Ranvir and the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

In senior ranks, Joshi served as Assistant Chief of Personnel (Human Resource Development), in Warship Production and Acquisition as the Assistant Controller of the Aircraft Carrier Programme (ACCP), and thereafter in the Operations Branch both as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Information Warfare and Operations) and as the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff.

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Digression

4/D-35
Feb 28, 2014
08:29 AM

We should have got AK Anthony’s head, instead of the Admiral’s. -
Mohan Guruswamy

The ill-fated INS Sindhuratna, the Russian made Kilo class submarine, which took the lives of two officers, and cut short the tenure of Admiral DK Joshi in its wake, was commissioned on November 19, 1988. Before it was handed over to the Indian Navy the Russians sailed it for about a year on trials and weapons testing. So effectively the submarine has been in service for 26 years. When the Russians hand over a submarine they stipulate a service life of twelve years, and after a major refit, which entails of almost rebuilding the submarine from its outer skin to inner skin, and the incorporation of new weapons and navigation systems, the submarine has a stipulated service like of another ten years. But the Indian Navy squeezed out another two years of service. The active life of this submarine ended in December 2013.

A Kilo class submarine is powered by 240 batteries, each weighing 800 kgs. Each of these batteries has a service life of 200 fully charged to fully discharged cycles or exactly 4 years whichever comes first. The Sindhuratna’s batteries used up their life cycle in December 2012. Since the Navy’s underwater arm is now hugely depleted, the Navy had no recourse but to stretch the service life of these aged submarines. The Sindhuratna underwent a minor refit for the last four months and it was on its first sea trial or Task 2 sea examination before it could be re-inducted into active service. It was still fitted with the batteries whose service life had expired 15 months ago.

The ship didn’t get new batteries because the procurement was delayed by the MoD. These batteries are now made in India, by Chloride India and Standard Batteries and are procured at much higher than international prices. The reasons for this are easily understood. One is we need indigenous sources to be self reliant, and the other is the usual malaise that afflicts defence purchases. Lolly. The costs of these batteries too have gone up hugely in the past decade. A set of batteries takes two years to build and the Sindhuratna was not expected to get its new batteries like the end of 2014.

To cut a long story short, a submarine that should have been cut up in a scrap yard was still sailing with batteries, which have long outlived their service life. I saw an admiral relate on TV just a few minutes ago about how he has seen batteries with electrolyte leaking and running on the floor, and how sailors were mopping it up. Yesterday, the INS Sindhuratna had on board, the Western Command’s Commander of Submarines and the Chief of Safety. There was a good reason for this. They were there to personally check out if the submarine was indeed sea and battle worthy. It clearly was not, and two young officers paid with their lives.

Who is responsible for this sad state of affairs? Clearly a MoD, which is incapable of sanctioning critical consumables like batteries in time or forever has to bear the burden. The file requiring the purchase of new batteries was under process for years with the MoD. Each fleet is required to have a set of batteries as a reserve. The HDW designed Shishumar submarines use different batteries so the Fleet was supposed to have another set as a reserve. Let alone two reserves that they don’t have, our submarines make do with expired batteries.

AK Anthony knew all this. The Navy has brought it to his notice many times, with a monotonous regularity. He didn’t get off his butt, busy as he was covering it. That’s why he accepted the Navy Chiefs resignation with great alacrity. He didn’t ponder over it, as is his well-known habit. He has managed to deflect attention. For now at least. He will now make a big show of cracking the whip, when it is he who needs a few lashes of the cat-o-nine-tails.

https://www.facebook.com/mguruswamy/posts/10201719096768077

Bonita, Chennai
3/D-34
Feb 28, 2014
08:26 AM

HUHA (aka Misogynist) (#1),

>"I consulted only myself and my wife "

>>A hen-pecked disgrace.

The disgrace is you. It's time you pulled your head out from where it is stuck and get some fresh air. This may revive your brain cells which have atrophied due to oxygen starvation.

Bonita, Chennai
2/D-17
Feb 28, 2014
03:23 AM

Carved from a rare block of granite.

ashok lal, mumbai
1/D-9
Feb 28, 2014
01:07 AM

""I consulted only myself and my wife "

A hen-pecked disgrace.

Misogynist, Chennai
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