Vice Admiral Karambir Singh--image
File photo of Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: In his first diktat after taking charge, Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh has ordered to do away with “quasi religious” functions in the Indian Navy and has sought an end to the ‘VIP culture’ within the institution.

According to a list of 26 instructions issued Tuesday, Singh ordered for greater equality within the Navy, as he asked senior officials to ensure that their juniors are respectful but not subservient.

The instructions include a standardisation of drinks, food, cutlery and crockery for all ranks at any function.

Within the military, personnel often get different treatment at functions depending on their ranks — from food to cutlery.

Singh also asked for a reduction in ‘unnecessary ostentation’ during official events and visits of senior officers to naval locations.

“As a modern fighting force, it is important that we imbibe contemporary social and ceremonial procedures towards optimal utilisation of manpower and resources,” said Singh in his introduction to the new rules.

Singh took charge from Admiral Sunil Lanba on 31 May.

Also read: What is Project 75 India & what it means for Indian Navy

What the instructions say

“Lighting of lamp/functions of quasi religious nature/fawning gestures, garlanding and showering flower petals, on guests, invitees, dignitaries to be avoided,” the elaborate instructions sent as a signal to all Navy units said.

There is no clarity at the moment over what a ‘quasi religious’ function constitutes, and whether it would involve breaking of coconuts and recital of religious prayers at launches and commissions of new ships and submarines.

The order also called for doing away with the practice of lining up women and children to welcome and see off dignitaries at naval events. Further, it sought to end the practice of engaging multiple cars for the Navy chief during official visits.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s instructions when he first took over in 2014, the Navy chief said bouquets should not be presented during official functions. He also called for ending the practice of having flower pots and red carpets on-board ships.

Also read: Here’s why former Navy chief wants India’s next Raksha Mantri to personally guide Tejas

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55 Comments Share Your Views


  1. What is in paper needs to be practiced. Even simple advice of PM to do away with bouquet and instead give a rose or book has not been followed. The system should change from top and they must practice what they preach. The less said better about political parties. How BJP and PM conducted campaign and also thanks giving event where tons of roses were thro in.

  2. This is a good step and we all should appreciate this step by Admiral.He and all senior officers including retired are aware of the said issues.But this only Admiral will not be able to change the system alone until there will not be a change come through Parliament .Because all rules are made for sailors only because SAILORS are treated as POOR INDIANS of Pre-Independence.Whereas OFFICERS treat themselves as BRITISH time rulers on these sailors only.Armed forces should be lived together and with Patriotism ,which makes morale of all at high level to counter any thing for NATION. sailors join Navy to serve country but when after joining they saw a difference and a different community called OFFICERS and their families .Officers are enjoying the service with all the resources including MAN and Material given for serving Country but OFFICERS are using for their day to day needs.Even Admirals at Delhi were seen using Defence Vehicles and Manpower using for their Children Marriages and various functions.If Officers WANT to go for vacation with family they make it DUTY and go with family and enjoy there with all the available resources including accommodation and vehicles of armed forces there at the vacation place.After vacation which they had made DUTY ,they put claims and earns money also.There are various thing which are JUST need to stop today and now only.This is the need of hour because it is the matter of national interest and MORALE of not only poor SAILORS and also of a common man.JAI HIND

  3. We must appreciate those who still have the guts and spirit for reforms in any field. The efforts must continue.

  4. As being a civilian I notice that the rank system is quite comparable to the descrimination in the caste system in the civilian domain, though reduced notably due to reservations quota for different castes.
    Secular……yes we are. All those affected by Rank descrimination remember Justice Denied is Injustice Done At That Very Moment.

  5. Dear Admiral, Congratulations on your first thought on realising that there are differences and wanted to bring in the EQUALITY in Indian Navy.

    It’s very sad that he hasn’t mentioned about sailors. Where is the equality in Indian Navy?.

    It still reminds me of the days when I used to wash plates of Senior sailors and I was called a mess man and was punished for not doing so and the days I was guarding the Navy House. This made me to get out of the SLAVERY System

    Believe me, in Indian Navy we are still following the dirty British way of living and NO OFFICER wish that it has to change, because of the fact that the Officer’s feel it is way of life in Navy.

    Today in civil, Iam proud that I am a VP of a company and a naval Officer reports to me as subordinate. (Just taking my revenge).

    why the huge gap and differences between officers and sailors?

    Admiral do something to bridge this gap.

    All the very best

    • Clearly, you still havent got your ‘revenge’, because you are still hurt. Also I don’t believe you are a VP of anything. You are too consumed by your sense of inferiority to become VP of anything anytime soon.

  6. Ever heard “New broom sweeps clean” ?
    This too shall get old soon.
    All nonsense. Must maintain the dignity and professionalism of the service. All this Lipaputi is humbug. Why talk all such nonsense? It’s below CNS ‘s level.

  7. I wish the new Admiral will stand by his words. It’s very sad that he hasn’t mentioned about sailors. Where is equality in The Indian Navy.?. If it was there why do you think that thousands of sailors left this wonderful service in 10 years. We are still following the British and that’s why there is such huge gap between officers and sailors. I hope new Admiral will do something to bridge the gap. I wish him all the very best from the bottom of my heart

  8. Dear Admiral,
    Do you really need to say all these?
    You mean others (retired admirals) were fool for not having said or implemented, what you said?
    Or You also want some media attention ?? Likewise ( counterparts in other arms)
    Or Looking for LS campaign in 2024?
    You don’t have to say all these to become famous or making vote bank in forces.
    If you really want to bring reform please do so people will come to know.
    By saying things like what you said, I would say now it’s almost on the verge of decimation in forces , you are bringing these issues to gauge uncessarry attraction & it will not bring fame to you.
    Kindly do the job required from you and no non sense talks.
    Soldiers before going to war or people starting anything new in their live always start with the name of their respective God’s and that gives them confidence & motivation…that is nothing to do with religious practice…it a culture in forces n that( belief) keeps them motivated.

    I am sure you would also not do Pooja :
    – after buying a new car?
    – owning a new house?
    – for that matter you won’t perform any religious act any occasion in your life.
    All the best for your tenure.

    • In the Indian Navy, just like in the Army and Air Force, there are people of different religious beliefs. Which religion do you have in mind when you lend your support to the quasi-religious rituals to continue in the army?

  9. In few days time, Navy chief will come to know how difficult to implement concept of “All are equal”. Our force is legacy of British Raj. So some officials having good connection will show that “All are equal but some are more equal than others”. This is happening in I.A.S. dominated beaurocracy, another legacy of British Raj. So how can Military, Navy or Air Force would be different. And they get support from feudal minded politicians ruling country. It will take time to remove 1000 years of slavery from our mind to imbibe culture of democracy. I have seen when I was in Indian revenue service how officers behave subservient to senior officers.

  10. Dear Admiral Sir…it is genuinely a bold and appreciable decision made by you. But let me emphasize the crucial point here that nothing is going to be changed practically. They who want to continue to be in practice of taking the treatment like the British viceroy will find the way. They are not serving the Nation rather than nation is serving them. Take the anonymous feedback from the rank below sub Lt after an year of implementation.

  11. I hope the instructions will materialized on ground. If these sort of decisions would have taken two years ago I would have been still in uniform. One of the reason to leave the wonderful service was discrimination. Had equal qualifications, experience and talent but just bcoz of selection in lower rank I had to bear the treatment like step son.

  12. This order is only for receptions not for daily life. Food for officers and sailors will continue to prepare separately. Food for officer and sailors will be not same. There is no crockery for junior sailors. This is just eye wash for civilians that navy is going to change. Nothing will change in daily routine life. If there is in reception that time crockery and food will remain same for officer and sailors .

  13. It is a great steps for us sir
    We are proud to got u like as an commanding Navy …..
    Soldier’s highly apriciate and joy their job today .
    But other defense system also want to be change .

  14. I salute such chief and hope orders may seen on ground, unnecessary engagement of forces in such activities leads lacking in their professional job. Moreover technical manpower is engaged in gardening/ adm duties, we hope Army & Air Force also should focus to reduce unnecessary engagement of men.

  15. Sir,

    Salute to your determination and good intention to remove all quasi religious function in Indian Navy, hope other armed forces also follows. Keep it up.

  16. This is the result of the nationalist government, who handpicked those leader who dont just show off that they are doing duties, rather who do the things which are required. Respect for humanity is what brings intrest and integrity in a job. Irresoective of field. Whole hearted respect and equality for all is must in defence forces.
    People may justify them by many things but only thing i can say is, yes you make difference in salary, but difference in treatment, food, health, other things must not b there. How is it possible that a jawan needs 1 pkt of milk and an officer need 4 pkts???? Although both are the same human beings. Like this many other things are there under the ambit of which ppl are being embarrased and humilated. And then we still expect integrity???

  17. agreed what you said . but it would have been befitting your status if you could clarify to whom you are saying , and who is listening to all this drama in todays world .

  18. A good decision taken by you sir.This decision must percolate down the line so that the feeling of brother in arms is well understood. Earlier I had seen Officers addressing their men that i am your brother sister father mother all bundelled in one tell me your problem with open heart i will address it this imbibed a confidence and adhesion between officers and men. Sir your decision on dinning messing reception respect towards juniors very positive it would bring about a feeling of oneness and juniors are not treated as colonial babus after all men officers and ladies were the same uniform to make thethe finnest force of the country . Next sir the lavish use of mechanical transport must be curtailed to lessen the tax payers burden.

  19. Most of these instructions have been issued earlier also. And the msg from CNS is reiteration of the same. Good thing is that these are actually followed in Navy. But it is also true that some officers always find ways to impress their seniors by methods other than doing hard work. But yes, at institutional level it has stopped.

  20. The intend are highly appreciable. and no one Shud have any doubt abt INs achievements.
    Why other Civil departments , specially Politicians don’t formulate such policies and follow austerity measures keeping the interest of the nation above everything.

  21. Hats off Sir, it’s essential all religious functions associated / practiced in government to be stopped including armed forces. WHY ONLY TEMPLES ALLOWED / HINDU RITUALS ALLOWED IN GUISE OF CULTURE? If our Constitution claims we are a SECULAR NATION?

    Sir,. Hats off again for this Bold step in Indian Navy.

  22. Traditions are backbone of the forces. If you break in due course of time there is nothing to preserve the virtue. You enjoyed 40 years and now want to push good traditions into garbage. You never criticized it. Now want to become netha and may be governor or minister

  23. This is what is the current need of our country. We respect equality , we respect ur orders which talk about equality among forces which will foresure strengthen up our Navy. Hope to see these kind of decisions bieng taken by rest of the two forces chiefs too.
    Jai Hind.

  24. Fantastic decision by admiral sir. Along with this order if Admiral sir can issue one more order which will be great for the defence forces. (1) No excuses of duties to any officer rank up to commodore rank. Only flag officers must be excempted. (2) only personal cars up to IN captain rank (3) MCPO I rank to be excempted from night duties. (4) No separate galley/ pantry for officers, common Gally food for officers ND sailors (5) only money in lieu of ration to officers (6) No salute up to commander rank or allow salute to MCPO I & II rank. (7) local purchasing power only to commodore and above.

  25. Well done…Mess are equal status whether for Sub Lt or Admirals….Misuse of Official transport by Services Wives needs to be curtailed…Same quality of food to be given in all Messes..Welfare of Jawans & Sailors comes before anyone…we shud remember they are our fighting core…Too much of receptions of Senior Officers be avoided.

  26. Cdr Sanjay Kaul ,you better have that mindset to understand what Navy Chief is saying.
    Hats off to you Admiral …

    • Better he removes the hat than make such cheap opening instructions. This could be one if the cheapest ever note to the press from any of the Admirals so far. It only serves for applause from civilians who cannot understand how Navy functions.

  27. Hats off sir..
    This shud have been done long before.but happy it’s done.dis officers make others work n thy n their wives enjoy .thy have taken all our money for granted.also thy shud not be given servants.then thy wud knw how other ladies work.

  28. These instructions to be not part of photography only. Religious practices can not be stopped by any order in navy because very symbol of India is based on Dharma. You can not remove Ashoka chakra from flag, u can’t remove four headed lion symbol. You can not remove the Snoh Varuna from Indian Many. Religious practices give strength. It was instructed by Lord Krishna to Arjun in the battlefield of kurukshra. It is uniting. It is for co existence, tolerance. So requesting Admiral for not disconnuing our very tradition and culture. Lighting the lamp is symbolic for removing the darkness of ignorance, pride and purification of nature.

  29. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist, Barnala (Punjab)

    New Naval Chief Admiral Karambir Singh deserves kudos for his wonderful gestures in form of instructions to begin with after
    assumption of his office .

    The new Naval Chief will have to face the real test when he will have to translate his exemplary ideas and gestures into actuality !

    Ironically, it remains to be seen will he be able to implement these instructions in the letter and spirit !

    Whenever a new chief in any walk of life takes charge of his office in India, he/she initially arouses optimism but ultimately fails to live up to the expectations !

    In this context, Chief Justice Of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi is the latest example who had also aroused many hopes when he became Chief
    Justice of India in October, 2018 ! But he did not at all come upto the expectations !

    Now , I have my apprehensions that totalitarian regime again in the saddle will not like to allow free hand to Admiral Karambir Singh in wake
    of its past track record of five years ! The poor plight of CBI, ED, Election Commission of India, Defence Minister, Defence Ministry , Reserve Bank of India and Niti Ayog etc.. in NDA-1 bears testimony to the fact !

    Prof PK Sharma,Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala (Punjab)

  30. Praiseworthy decision Sir,, it will definitely boost the morale of your workforce as it gives. equal weightage and value …

  31. There have been a number of times during my service that orders against ostentatious display and supercilious conduct have been issued. How many follow it is the moot point? Such Instructions are best implemented Top Down. Glad the present CNS has issued these instructionsn reaching the TOP Post of the Indian Navy and helm of affairs.

  32. Welcome initiative. Let’s see how things would role out and how it will change some persons mind set of colonial era master slave mentality.

  33. Hats off to this officer. Defence Services needs to be seen as totally secure through and through in these insecure times.

  34. It shouldn’t be applied only to defence forces but to political function s too, where chamchas spare nothing to appease their political bosses.

  35. What VIP culture is there in Indian Navy. The officers pay for the drinks and food for any get together or official party. An officer of commander rank and most of the senior officers use their personal vehicles/ and assets to ensure efficiency of the services. Karam getting promoted out of turn is doing nothing except pleasing his master and inturn will screw one of the finest services . In the footsteps of BiRa.

    • Full of VIP culture. Filled with descrimination due to British Navy acts. Hope changes required. When cdr opposing Admiral view, means a lot of gap in the system. Need to be rearrange.

    • Saw you comment and tried a lot to keep calm. But people like you need to be answered. I have also served in this finest force and seen how the senior officers enjoy the facilities out of the way. May be you have not done it, but it doesn’t mean this is not happening. Haven’t you seen even relatives of them enjoying cabin facilities? Or trying to get free car when out station near a unit? I firmly believe that we should have balls to say what’s wrong is wrong. Nothing is screwing service more than people like you who misrepresent the conditions within service.

    • Commander Sanjay Kaul Sahib,
      Jai Hind !
      In all humility, I do see eye to eye with you when you observe,”Karam getting promoted out of turn is doing nothing except pleasing his master……” NDA-1 ‘s past five years’ experience has been there before us. The authoritarian regime did not allow freedom to any organ of
      the state to function-grow freely, constructively and independently.

      I shall deem Admiral Karambir Singh new Naval Chief very fortunate if he is given a free hand. It will be seen as something new, strange
      and innovative !

      Whatever he has declared to begin with should not be sheer drama and rhetoric on paper ! The polity during the past five years rule tended
      to dramatise things but did not give the same the practical shape needed on the ground.

      Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
      Pom Anm Nest,Barnala (Punjab)

  36. We have not heard it from the mainstream media…. Instead of political war mongering on TV screens, these types of news must be aired again and again to pressurise other organs of the Govt to follow suit ……


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