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Indian navy chief quits over accident record

Admiral resigns after crew missing and injured in latest of a slew of submarine accidents to plague India's navy.

Last updated: 26 Feb 2014 15:34
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India's navy has been plagued by accidents in recent years, raising questions about its safety record [Reuters]

India's navy chief has resigned after two sailors went missing and another seven were injured in a submarine accident off Mumbai.

The Ministry of Defence announced Admiral DK Joshi's resignation in a statement on Wednesday following a fire on the INS Sindhuratna during a training exercise.

"Taking moral responsibility for the accidents and incidents which have taken place during the past few months, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi today resigned," a defence ministry statement said.

A search was under way for the missing crew, it said.

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The seven sailors suffered breathing problems after trying to contain smoke in the submarine's living quarters and had to be airlifted for treatment at a navy hospital in Mumbai.

The Russian-built submarine, which was still seaworthy after the incident, was returning to its Mumbai port.

India's navy has been plagued by accidents in recent years that have raised questions about its safety record.

Regular accidents

Last month another submarine, INS Sindhughosh, ran aground while returning to Mumbai harbour. No loss of life or damage was reported.

Last August 18 crew members were killed when the fully-armed Russian-built INS Sindhurakshak exploded in flames and sank in a military shipyard in Mumbai.

The disaster was thought to be the Indian navy's worst since the sinking of a frigate during its war with Pakistan in 1971.

The Sindhurakshak had previously caught fire in February 2010 while docked in Visakhapatnam city in southern India, killing a 24-year-old sailor.

The Indian navy has 14 submarines, but only seven to nine are operational at any time because of regular repair and refitting.

The INS Sindhuratna involved in Wednesday's accident had only been handed back to the navy in December after undergoing a major refit, according to local reports.

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Source:
AFP And AP
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