New Delhi: The Armed Forces Tribunal cleared the way for Admiral Karambir Singh, as he took charge as the new Navy Chief from incumbent Sunil Lanba who retired on Friday, May 31 at the South Block.

The new Chief succeeded Lanba who served as the Chief of Naval Staff for more than four decades. Admiral Karambir Singh has served the Indian Navy with a career of almost 40 years. He is also the first helicopter pilot of the Indian Navy to lead the naval armed forces.

Accepting his appointment at the ceremony, Karambir Singh said, “My predecessors made sure that Navy has a solid foundation and has reached new heights. It’ll be my endeavour to continue with their efforts and provide the nation with a Navy that’s strong, credible and ready to meet security challenges in the maritime domain.”

Meanwhile, a plea was registered by the Andaman and Nicobar commander-in-chief Bimal Verma challenging his appointment as the Navy Chief despite Verma being the seniormost member. However, Defence Ministry’s Joint Secretary (Navy) Richa Mishra clarified saying that seniority is important but not the “sole” criteria while appointing services chief.

The Tribunal, however, deferred the plea for four weeks ordering Singh to take charge at the ceremony in South Block. The appointment of Karambir Singh will be subject to the final outcome of the petition filed by Verma and the final decision passed by the Tribunal.

Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain took over as the eastern fleet commander from Karambir Singh.