Vice Admiral Sinha named IDS chief

June 27th, 2011 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) Vice Admiral Sekhar Sinha, the senior-most naval aviator, has been named the new chief of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) after a delay of nearly a month.

Presently the IDS deputy chief, Sinha, a 1974 batch Indian Navy officer, will assume his new appointment by the end of this month and will service a one-and-half-year tenure, a defence ministry official said here Monday.

Earlier in the day, when asked about Sinha’s name being cleared by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said: “It is done. They (ministry) will officially announce it.”

Sinha will replace Vice Admiral D.K. Joshi, who had assumed charge of the IDS headquarters about six months ago but was appointed the Western Naval Command head last month. Sinha will serve for the remainder of the fixed two-year tenure that Joshi could not complete.

The office of the IDS chief rotates among the army, navy and the air force, with a three-star officer from each of the service holding the appointment in turn.

The 2011-13 tenure belonged to the navy and hence Sinha’s appointment, the official said.

IDS is a formation created early this century after the K. Subramanyam committee that reviewed the conduct of the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan had recommended the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff, a five-star post that would serve as a single point of reference for the government on all matters military. This would also achieve jointmanship and interoperability among the army, navy and air force.

The government, however, said it wanted to build political consensus on this and created the IDS in the interregnum.

Successive armed forces chiefs have been rather iffy on the CDS issue, with the Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik saying there was no need for the post as the present system of the Chiefs of Staff Committee was working satisfactorily.

Sinha, who is a Sea Harrier fighter pilot, has served on India’s lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat. He was among the initial induction team of pilots for the fighter plane.

During his service of over three-decades, Sinha has commanded top notch warships, including INS Mysore, an indigenous Delhi class guided missile destroyer.

He has also commanded the Indian Navy’s sword arm, the Western Fleet based in Mumbai.

His appointment was mired in a delay as the navy had put up a panel of three officers for post and there was speculation that Sinha’s was not the navy’s first choice.

However, the defence ministry followed precedent and overruled the navy’s recommendation to appoint Sinha as he was the senior-most among the three officers, the defence ministry official added.

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