New Delhi, Feb 26: Indian Navy chief Admiral D.K. Joshi resigned Wednesday, a day when seven sailors were injured after smoke filled up a compartment of a submarine.
The government has accepted his resignation with immediate effect, a defence ministry release said.
The resignation came barely hours after seven Indian Navy personnel were injured and at least two went missing when smoke spread through a compartment in the INS Sindhuratna submarine that was underwater off Mumbai, about 50 nautical miles (80 km) in the Arabian Sea.
There were 94 sailors on board the submarine when smoke was reported in the sailors’ accommodation.
The seven injured sailors were airlifted by helicopter and shifted in an unconscious state to the naval hospital, INS Asvini, in south Mumbai early Wednesday.
Two more sailors who were on board the submarine, remain “unaccounted for” or are missing and a search for them has been launched.
Officials suspect that the two “unaccounted for” officials may have been trapped in one of the sealed compartments of the vessel.
“Taking moral responsibility for the accidents and incidents which have taken place during the past few months, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi today resigned from the post of CNS,” the release said.
It said that the Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral R.K. Dhowan will be discharging the duties of officiating CNS, pending appointment of regular CNS.
The navy has been hit by a spate of accidents over the past seven months, causing concern.
The biggest accident involved fire on the INS Sindhurakshak and the subsequent sinking of the submarine in the Mumbai harbour Aug 14 last year, killing all 18 personnel aboard.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony had earlier this month expressed concern over the accidents suffered by the navy over the past few months.
Antony said that even one accident was “serious” for him and there was need to strictly follow standard operating procedures and draw proper lessons.
Accidents have dented the navy.
INS Talwar, a frigate, collided with a fishing vessel last year.
A fire broke out on INS Konkan at the dry dock in Visakhapatnam in December 2013 when it was in the dry dock for maintenance.
And INS Betwa, also a frigate, suffered damage in January.
INS Vindhyagiri, a Nilgiri class frigate, sank after it caught fire when it collided with a merchant vessel near the Mumbai harbour in 2011.
Admiral Joshi, who quit Wednesday, had taken over as the country’s 21st chief of naval staff August 2012, according to indiannavy.nic.in.
A specialist in anti-submarine warfare, Joshi served in a variety of command, staff and instructional appointments. His sea commands include guided missile corvette INS Kuthar, guided missile destroyer INS Ranvir and the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
After his elevation to Flag rank, the admiral served in the integrated headquarters in all nodal branches.