Thursday, February 27, 2014


India’s Navy Chief, Admiral D.K. Joshi Resigned As 

Chief Of The Indian Navy, Owning “Moral 

Responsibility For The Accidents And Incidents 

During The Past Few Months”

Navy Chief Admiral D.K. Joshi resigned on Wednesday in the wake of the accident involving submarine INS Sindhuratna. File photo

Photo of Admiral D.K. Joshi and story by the HINDU

 We urge our readers, and especially our Indian readers, to check out the complete story in THE HINDU the details are all there, all that we can do is present our own perspective. Around here we call the Indian Navy the "Tigers" because we admire them for all they have done in such a short time and on limited resources. In only a few years they have built up a formidable fleet from a start of almost randomly acquired foreign built equipment. With it they soon mastered such world class naval skills as the operation of aircraft carriers, underway replenishment at sea, the operation of nuclear submarines, and the firing of missiles from submerged submarines. Now the Indian Navy has begun to develop the specifications for its own equipment that will be largely Indian built. By world naval standards India now ranks among the top four navies on earth and is highly respected and admired by naval professionals of all nations, including the begrudging respect of potential enemies. 

 We have been following the development of the Indian Navy for about two years now. We have marveled in print at the skill and team work of both the officer corps and the ratings to be able to do all that they have done on a budget and in such a short time frame. The Navy made great forward progress under Admiral Joshi. It has experienced some deadly accidents in its submarine program of late, apparently the admiral judged the third incident to be indicative of a an unsustainable pace. He judged it time to slow down and look into the details and fix what is wrong in the submarine program. But he also decided to save the Navy the wasted effort of the blame game. With the Indian Navy at this point in history, it is difficult to determine if Admiral Joshi set the pace or went with the flow of his hard charging officers and ratings. But it is clear that he led from the front and decided to take personal responsibility for being a bit late at slowing the pace. He gave up the job he worked a lifetime for and took the responsibility for things that he in fact had little real control over.

However by doing so he set the stage for new leadership and saved the Navy a lot of useless hand wringing. In doing so he both reigned in the pace that was over running the adoption and mastery of the technology in the submarine program and set the stage for a fast restart when that task is done. He knows his tigers will do it and be charging ahead shortly. The admiral's resignation may look like an admission of failure to those untutored in naval ways. But it is a gift of self sacrifice to the Navy he loved who we are confident will take the opportunity to fix the submarine program, and then excel at it. The global naval community sees Admiral Joshi and his tigers as a roaring success. We see his resignation as an admirable and generous gesture, and a strategic gesture that will help propel the Indian Navy forward without  the typical political blame game. The tigers will man up and move forward, the people of India can be assured of that.
History will record Admiral Joshi as a pivotal and important leader of exceptional professional vision, leadership, and moral courage.

 Every naval leader from Chief Petty Officer to Admiral knows that if we don't die in service to our fleet and nation, the day always comes when we have to leave. It never comes in ripe old age but usually at mid life at the peak of our powers. But manning a navy is a young man's game and we are only there for the duration of our watch. The life of a navy is as long as that of the nation whose flag it flies.  The transition to the new watch must be smooth, and prepared for, and the moment must be right. We don't stand relieved with water running into our watch station. The moment must be right. The admiral picked his moment suddenly with situational  insight and handed off the watch to his relief in the best shape he could regardless of the personal cost. Admiral Joshi will be well remembered in the history of the Indian Navy, and over the longer haul of history his resignation will be possibly judged as his finest hour. Calm winds and following seas to you Admiral in your future endeavors. rest assured you leave held in the highest esteem by the world's naval say us all! 

Johnas Presbyter, editor, and the crew of American Admiralty Books

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  1. Thank you for your regular coverage of the Indian Navy. This is one of the few places where I can get a US naval professional's perspective of India's navy and strategic culture. Please keep it up!

    1. Please see our post of March 8, 2014 on the fatal accident during the CO2 fire suppression system test in the shipyard that took the life of Commander Kundal Wadhwa :