In a significant restructuring at the highest echelons of the Indian Navy, Vice Admiral Sanjay J Singh, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff, and Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOCINC) of the Western Naval Command, exchanged their respective positions. On Thursday, Vice-Admiral Dinesh K. Tripathi assumed the role of Vice-Chief of the Naval Staff (VCNS). The day prior, Vice-Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh succeeded him as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOCINC) of the Western Naval Command at INS Shikra in Mumbai. The position of Vice Chief of Naval Staff holds the second-highest active rank in the Indian Navy, ranking below the four-star Admiral, the Chief of the Naval Staff.
Admiral R. Hari Kumar, the Chief of the Naval Staff, is scheduled to retire on April 30, at which point Vice-Admiral Tripathi will be the senior-most Naval officer. This year, all three Services are poised to witness leadership changes. In another high-level leadership reshuffle, Vice-Admiral V. Srinivas assumed the role of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOCINC) of the Southern Naval Command at the Naval Base in Kochi on December 31, succeeding Vice-Admiral M. A. Hampiholi, who retired after nearly four decades of service in the Navy.
An alumnus of Sainik School, Rewa, and National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Vice-Admiral Tripathi was commissioned into the Navy on July 1, 1985. A communication and electronic warfare specialist, on promotion to the rank of Vice-Admiral in June 2019, he was appointed Commandant of the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala, Kerala, and served as Director-General of Naval Operations from July 2020 to May 2021. Later, from June 2021 to February 2023, he served as the Chief of Personnel (COP).
With expertise in Communication and Electronic Warfare, Vice Admiral Tripathi boasts an impressive career, having served on frontline warships in roles such as Signal Communication Officer and Electronic Warfare Officer. His leadership and operational skills were evident during his command of Indian Naval Ships Vinash, Kirch, and Trishul. Throughout his career, he held pivotal operational and staff roles, including Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet in Mumbai and Principal Director of Network Centric Operations in New Delhi.
Before taking over as the FOCINC West, Vice-Admiral Sanjay J Singh served as the VCNS at Naval Headquarters. He was commissioned in 1986 into the Executive Branch of the Navy. Over a career spanning 37 years, he has been deployed on various classes of Navy ships, undertaking diverse roles in command, training, and staff appointments. These include serving as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Communications, Space, and Network-Centric Operations (CSNCO)), Flag Officer Sea Training, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, Commandant Naval War College, and Controller Personnel Services and Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Operations).
He played a key role in drafting the Indian Navy’s Maritime Doctrine, 2009, Strategic Guidance to Transformation, 2015, and the Indian Maritime Security Strategy, 2015. Vice-Admiral Singh specialised in navigation and direction in 1992, completed the Advanced Command and Staff Course in the UK in 2000, and underwent the Naval Higher Command Course in 2009 at the Naval War College, Mumbai.