Kochi: The Southern Naval Command (SNC) got a new chief today with Vice Admiral Girish Luthra taking charge as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in- C, South).

Prior to assuming charge, Vice Admiral Luthra laid a wreath at the War Memorial, as a tribute to the thousands of martyrs who had fought for the country. 

A native of Haryana, he was commissioned in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy in 1979. He has commanded Indian Naval Ships Khukri, Talwar and aircraft carrier Viraat. He was also the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Fleet during 2011-12.

Prior to being appointed as the FOC-in-C (South), Vice Admiral Luthra was the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Operations) at IHQ, MoD (Navy) at Delhi. The day also witnessed the outgoing Commander-in-Chief, Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, being ceremonially pulled out in a jeep by Flag Officers and Commanding Officers of ships and naval establishments of Kochi.

Vice Admiral Lanba will now assume the charge of the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command at Mumbai tomorrow. He has commanded Indian Naval Ships Kakinada (minesweeper), Himgiri (frigate), Ranvijay (guided missile destroyer) and Mumbai (guided missile destroyer).

In an earlier interview to Mathrubhumi, Vice Admiral Lanba had said that at the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala, plans were afoot to increase the intake of cadets to 1400 in Phase-II and to 2400 in Phase-III. 

He had also said that a proposal has been sent to the Central Government to make Indian Navy and Coast Guard part of the Vizhinjam Port plans.