Admiral Karambir Singh takes charge as Indian Navy chief: Several challenges including maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, China’s pursuit of its global ambitions and its growing presence in the Indian ocean, and the coastal security some of the issues that the new navy chief will have to address on urgent basis.
Admiral Karambir Singh who assumed command of the Indian Navy today as the 24th Chief of the Naval Staff, is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, and was commissioned into the Indian Navy in July 1980. Singh earned his wings as a helicopter pilot in 1981 and has flown the Chetak (Alouette) and Kamov helicopters and has also served as Directing Staff in the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington; and College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai.
The Indian Navy which has its self-mandated role as the ‘net security provider in the region has a very critical role to play in the support of a rules- based international order to protect the safe and free movement of maritime traffic in and through this region which is one of the busiest waterways in the world.
To ensure that the Indian Navy remains a credible Indo-Pacific power, the new chief should ensure that Navy which currently has around 140 ships and submarines in commission and 40 or so at various stages of construction should be expedited. The Indian navy plans to have a 200-ship strong navy by 2027.
According to experts, the Indo-Pacific is going to be the scene of intense geo-economic competition in which confrontation at some stage will be imminent and conflict also a possibility. And for this New Delhi will have to pay more attention to its navy and more specifically, its submarine capability the undersea warfare domain. Currently, out of the 14 submarines in commission, 12 are 25-33 years old and one is over 19 years old.
In a career spanning over 39 years Singh has commanded Indian Coast Guard Ship Chandbibi, Missile Corvette INS Vijaydurg, as well as two Guided Missile Destroyers, INS Rana and INS Delhi.