Four days after taking over as the 24th Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh has issued an exhaustive list of guidelines aimed at tweaking existing social and ceremonial practices of the Navy to ensure "optimal utilisation" of manpower and resources. The guidelines, apparently aimed at curbing needless ceremony and "subservient behaviour" in the force, are to be enforced with immediate effect.
Many of the guidelines called for the adoption of austerity measures, besides doing away with formalities that have long been in practice among Navy personnel. The first section, which involved altering practices followed during visits by the Chief of Navy Staff, did away with the need to provide multiple or standby cars on such occasions and mandated that only senior sailors be deputed for liaison duties.
The list of guidelines sought to curtail overt demonstrations of hierarchy in the Navy, such as repeated references to senior officers by their "full title" in speeches and citation of official decorations outside of formal correspondence and occasions. The document accessed by NDTV also laid emphasis on senior officials encouraging juniors in the naval service to be disciplined and respectful without being "subservient", and stated that the "use of the third person in addressing senior officers be discouraged".
In an apparent move to ensure equality in the force, the guidelines prescribed that food, drinks and cutlery of the same "standard" be provided to all ranks of Navy personnel attending a particular function. They also mandated that the refreshments or meals served be simple and "devoid of ostentation", and curtailed the presentation of bouquets to officers or their spouses during visits.
The new Navy chief has also frowned on the traditional practice of lining up women and children to receive or see off dignitaries, and mandated that there should be "minimal disruption" to routine activities on such occasions.
Admiral Karambir Singh, the first helicopter pilot to become Chief of Naval Staff, was promoted to the position on Friday. He earlier served as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam. He succeeded Admiral Sunil Lanba, who assumed office on May 31, 2016.