The navy loses its skilled PRO. Whose gain will this be? - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Stuff.

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Monday, 23 September 2019

The navy loses its skilled PRO. Whose gain will this be?

For almost a decade, Capt DK Sharma (above) has brought credit to the navy

The Indian Navy has just lost one of its biggest force multipliers with the retirement of Captain Dalip Kumar Sharma, its longstanding Public Relations Officer (PRO) in New Delhi. The navy has many highly qualified and capable admirals. But I can state without hesitation that Dalip, or DK as we all called him, contributed more to the navy in the last decade than any admiral in even the most exalted position.

Dealing calmly, knowledgeably and good-humouredly with dozens of correspondents from print, television and social media, Dalip consistently projected his service in the best possible light. Unlike many government PR persons, Dalip was not a mindless propagandist. He did not gloss over, or attempt to bury, errors and mistakes by naval personnel – such as when a frigate, INS Beas, toppled over while in a dry dock, or an AN-32 aircraft was lost with all aboard off Chennai, or when sailors were killed in submarine accidents. He simply divulged the facts, while quietly reminding journalists of the hazards and dangers of operating at sea. One of his gems: “Nobody ever capsized, while sitting at a desk ashore.”

In navigating the navy through potentially troublesome news events, Dalip brought impeccable service credentials to the job. He was an ace navigator, having served as the Navigation Officer aboard the destroyer INS Rana during the 1999 Kargil crisis and Operation Parakram in 2001-02.

During almost a decade as PRO, Dalip Sharma brought the navy its full share of credit for multiple operations: such as the evacuation of Indian citizens from war-torn Yemen, the International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam, and the managing of the super-cyclone Hudhud. He even brought the navy credit for counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir, quietly pointing to naval divers operating in Wular Lake in the Valley!

As a friend and news colleague, I will sorely miss Dalip. His successor, Captain Vivek Madhwal, has big shoes to fill and we all wish him luck in his tricky job. If I were a defence firm, doing business in India, I would waste no time in snapping up Dalip – I am assuming someone hasn’t already done that. Whoever gets him will not get just an outstanding PR person. He will get an officer who should have made it easily to admiral, and a gentleman who can be counted upon to do the right and honest thing.

Here’s wishing you fair winds and following seas, Dalip.



1 comment:

  1. "But I can state without hesitation that Dalip, or DK as we all called him, contributed more to the navy in the last decade than any admiral in even the most exalted position."
    I seriously question your judgement with sweeping statements like this. While DK has contributed a ton, there are others in the Navy who have contributed similarly to the Navy, albeit in lesser known ways.

    ReplyDelete

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