New Delhi: Had Admiral D K Joshi not resigned suddenly from the post of Chief of Naval Staff (CONS) on February 26, his deputy, Vice Admiral Robin K Dhowan would probably have been pursuing his favourite pastime of golfing and yatching after his retirement on May 31. But he has now been pushed into the limelight, forced by providence to take over as the Naval Chief, a little less than two months after Admiral Joshi's abrupt resignation.
Admiral Dhowan, 59, becomes the 22nd Naval Chief, but his 25-month-long tenure will be keenly watched for the steps he takes to restore the glory of the force. In the past 9 months, there have been 11 accidents aboard Indian Navy assets, including three submarines.
A navigation and direction specialist, Admiral Dhowan has never headed any operational command, but has held key positions and staff appointments during his career. His command appointments include missile corvette INS Khukri and guided missile destroyers INS Ranjit and INS Delhi. He was the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, based at Vishakhapatnam, one of the two operational commands of the Indian Navy.
The staff assignments held by him include Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Policy and Plans) at the force's New Delhi headquarters, Commandant of National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, Indian Naval Adviser at the High Commission of India, London and Chief Staff Officer (Operations) at the Western Naval Command headquarters.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy (45th Course, Charlie Squadron) and the Defence Services Staff College, he joined his first assignment aboard INS Delhi, in 1974. He was honoured with a "telescope" on being recognised as the Best Cadet of the ship. He was later awarded the 'Sword of Honour' on completion of Midshipman training. He has undergone various courses in India and abroad, including the Sea Harrier Direction course at Yeovilton in the United Kingdom, and the Naval Command Course at Naval War College, Rhode Island, USA.