Vice Admiral Sunil Lamba, commandant of National Defence College, is expected to be appointed as Vice Chief of Naval Staff as part of a major rejig being undertaken at the top level in the maritime force. Lamba, who is in line to be the Navy chief in 2016, will be taking the position of Admiral Robin Dhowan who took over as the head of the force a week back.
As part of the reshuffle, Eastern Command chief Vice Admiral Anil Chopra is expected to be moved to Mumbai-based Western Command, defence sources said. Chopra will be succeeded by Vice Admiral Satish Soni, who is heading the Southern Command, the sources. The Southern Command based in Kochi is now expected to be headed by Strategic Forces Commander Vice Admiral SPS Cheema, they said.
Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Pradeep Chatterjee is expected to head the tri-services Andaman and Nicobar Command in Port Blair. The reshuffle at the top level was neccessiated by the sudden exit of former chief Admiral DK Joshi and Western commander Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha.
As per seniority, Lamba is in line for being appointed as the next Navy chief in May 2016 after Dhowan's retirement. Joshi resigned on February 26, taking moral responsibility after the Navy was hit by a series of mishaps involving its submarines and other assets over the last 10 months. Soon after Dhowan was appointed as the Navy chief, superseded Sinha sought voluntary retirement, creating vacancies at the top level in the force