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Navy officer to head Integrated Defence Staff

By Josy Joseph in New Delhi
September 20, 2003 12:10 IST
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Vice Admiral Raman Puri would be the new chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, the unified command that controls India's nuclear weapons, its Tri-service Command in Andamans, major defence institutions and the Defence Intelligence Agency.

The appointment of the navy officer, yet to be announced officially, will surprise many.

Lieutenant General Pankaj Joshi is the current chief of the Integrated Defence Staff. Several media reports had said that the army would retain the crucial post.

The government cleared Vice Admiral Raman Puri's appointment to the important post in a massive reshuffle of senior naval officers. Lt General Pankaj Joshi is retiring this month end.

Under the new order, navy would get a new vice-chief and new commander-in-chiefs for most of its commands.

Vice Admiral Puri, respected in naval circles for his interest in technical matters, would bring in his expertise to the Integrated Defence Staff headquartered in South Block.
The Integrated Defence Staff is currently looking at perspective planning and is in the process of putting in place a Net Assessment Office that would provide long term inputs on trends and enemies from a analytic perspective.

According to the transfer order, Vice Admiral Arun Prakash, C-in-C of the Western Naval Command based in Mumbai, would be the new vice-chief when the incumbent Vice Admiral John D'Silva retires.

Arun Prakash's posting to the headquarters is part of an effort to groom him as the next navy chief to take over from
Admiral Madhvendra Singh when he retires on July 31 next year.

Vice Admiral Madanjit Singh, the chief of the Southern Naval Command based in Kochi, would take over as the next c-in-c of the Western Naval Command, which is the most critical command of the navy, controlling seas bordering Pakistan and the busy sealanes running from the Gulf region.

Vice Admiral O P Bansal, who is heading the Tri-service Command, will take over as the C-in-C of the Eastern Naval Command.

Rear Admiral Rakesh Kala has been posted as the chief of staff at the Tri-service Command.
Most of the officers now being shuffled have not completed their tenures in respective postings, but the appointments seem to have been made keeping in mind their seniority.


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Josy Joseph in New Delhi