Mumbai, Jan 31: Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba on Sunday assumed office as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Western Naval Command (WNC) here, an official statement said. Lanba is next in line to be the Indian Navy chief. Also Read - Video of US Navy Members Singing 'Yeh Jo Desh Hai Tera' Goes Viral | Watch

He took over the reins from Vice Admiral S.P.S. Cheema at a ceremonial parade held at INS Shikra. Later in the day, officers of the Western Naval Command accorded Vice Admiral Cheema a warm send-off, with the traditional ‘Pulling Out’ ceremony. Vice Admiral Cheema retires on Sunday, after completing nearly four decades of service to the nation and the Navy. Vice Admiral Lanba, a specialist in navigation and direction and an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, has very rich operational and staff experience over a career spanning more than three decades. Also Read - Maharashtra: Abducted Navy Sailor Burnt Alive, Hunt on For Kidnappers

He has served as the navigating officer of INS Sindhudurg (Corvette) and INS Dunagiri (Frigate).  During his illustrious service he commanded four frontline warships, namely INS Kakinada (Minesweeper), INS Himgiri (Frigate), INS Ranvijay, and INS Mumbai (Destroyers).  Vice Admiral Lanba is also an alumnus of the College of Defence Management, Secunderabad, where he also served as the faculty member. (ALSO READ: International Fleet Review: India to exhibit geopolitical strength in Vizag; 52 nations to participate in joint navy exercise) Also Read - Indian Navy Prepared To Defeat Every Threat of Terrorism at Sea or From Sea: Vice Admiral MS Pawar

He has also held important staff assignments such as Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet and Chief of Staff, Southern and Eastern Naval Commands. He has also been the Flag Officer Sea Training; Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area; Commandant, National Defence College; and Vice Chief of Naval Staff.

He was the Commander-in-chief of the Southern Naval Command at Kochi prior to being appointed to head the premier operational Command of the Indian Navy. Vice Admiral Lanba is a recipient of the Param Vishist Seva Medal and the Athi Vishist Seva Medal for distinguished service of an exceptionally high order.