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Harinder's appointment will be reconsidered: CNS

GAURAV C SAWANT

NEW DELHI, Jan 6: Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Sushil Kumar today said that they would have to "think afresh" about Vice Admiral Harinder Singh's appointment as the deputy chief of naval staff.

In an exclusive interview to The Indian Express, Admiral Kumar, however, preferred not to elaborate.

"The whole issue has become very involved. We will have to look at it afresh," he said.

The Admiral said that a "chain reaction" has set in after the sacking of Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat.

"I have come to Delhi from Kochi. And there will be fresh appointments at key posts," he said. Admiral Kumar, however, clarified that he had no preferences about who to post and where.

The Admiral said, "As of now I have told all my officers and sailors to go by what the holy Gita says `Do thy duty, reward is not thy concern'."In his first interview after taking over as the CNS, Admiral Kumar said, "I have been meeting top Navy officers; flag officers and commanders-in-chief. They came down to Delhi and I have told themto just work with a clear conscience. I advised them to put their trust in God and do their duties with fairness." Admiral Kumar refused to comment on whether the sacking of his predecessor was justified.

Asked about his initial days at the new office, Admiral Kumar said he felt like "a new boy at school". "There is so much to learn and I will start afresh," he said.

"I have discussed important issues with the flag officers and tried to arrive at a general consensus in matters of combat readiness and personnel management," the Admiral said.

"The Navy's combat-readiness has remained sharp. The armed forces have solid foundations. The officers and sailors of the Navy are so highly motivated that they are able to weather any stormy sea," he said.

Asked why had he dropped his Christian surname Issac, Admiral Kumar said that there was nothing communal or religious about it. "Both my brother and I have the same initials - S K Issac. And in the Navy there are a few stations so we were together often. At onetime we were together as commanders and transfer orders came for Commander S K Issac.

I pushed off to the war ship only to realise that the orders were for him," the Admiral said. And both of us had the same nickname. He was Ike senior and I was junior. But that did not work on official records so I dropped Issac,'' he added.

The Admiral, who was rushed to Delhi to take over as the CNS, said he was going back to Kochi to pack his bags and return with his wife, Venita, 23-year-old daughter, Anishya, and their pets - golden retrievers and a Labrador.

As for how the Chief of Naval Staff spends his time, Admiral Kumar says, his leisure hours are spent playing polo (he is an international polo player and had a handicap of four) and sailing. The soft-spoken CNS is the most highly decorated officer.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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