New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Rajendra Singh, an officer from the Coast Guard cadre, has been named to head the force, the first time an officer who is not from the Indian Navy has been elevated to the position.
The director general's post has so far only been held by officers who were commissioned in the Indian Navy.
Before this, two officers, Rameshwar Singh and Prabhakaran Paleri, who were from the Coast Guard stream, were elevated to the top post. However, they were Indian Navy officers on permanent secondment to the Coast Guard.
The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved Rajendra Singh's appointment, an order from the Department of Personnel and Training said.
He will replace Vice Admiral H. C. S. Bisht.
Rajinder Singh is currently additional director general of the Coast Guard. A 1980 batch officer, he was the first from the Coast Guard cadre to be elevated to three-star officer when the defence ministry approved his apppointment to his currnt post in in 2013.
Before that, officers of the Coast Guard could only rise to two-star rank.
Singh has commanded each class of Coast Guard Ship in service, which includes the Interceptor Boat, Inshore Patrol Vessel, Fast Patrol Vessel, Offshore Patrol Vessel and Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel.
In the early 1980s, when smuggling was at its zenith in Indian waters, he was actively involved in apprehending numerous maritime economic offenders.
The Indian Coast Guard was created under the Coast Guard Act by parliament in 1978. An interim Coast Guard was formed earlier in 1977.