Bullet from his pistol kills Indian rear admiral

Kochi/New Delhi, July 7 (Calcutta Tube) One of the senior-most commanders of the Indian Navy, Rear Admiral S.S. Jamwal, was killed Wednesday when a bullet from his pistol hit him during a training session in a gunnery school close to the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command in Kerala’s Kochi city, officials said.

‘I regret to inform that Chief of Staff, Southern Naval Command, Rear Admiral S.S. Jamwal, died in accidental firing at INS Dronacharya today (Wednesday),’ navy spokesman Commander P.V.S. Satish told IANS in New Delhi.

In Kochi, Commodore M.R. Ajaya Kumar, naval officer in charge Kerala, told reporters that a bullet from Jamwal’s pistol hit him at around 10.30 a.m. when he was training a batch of 24 trainers.

The rear admiral ‘was declared dead in a hospital’, Kumar said.

A navy officer told IANS in Kochi that Jamwal, 51, visited the school for an inspection of the training of the Sagar Prahari Bal, a new force being raised by the Indian Navy.

‘Today it was firing sessions. He first fired a few shots using an Insas rifle and then he took a .9 mm pistol and fired two rounds. The next did not fire. To see what happened, he turned the pistol towards his body and it fired and the bullet hit his head,’ the officer said.

Jamwal was accompanied by his staff officer when he arrived for the inspection.

Jamwal took over as chief of staff Southern Naval Command Sep 1, 2009. Earlier, he had served as the naval attache at the Indian embassy in Moscow.

An alumnus of Lawrence School Sanawar, National Defence Academy, Grechko Naval War College in Russia, Defence Services Staff College Wellington and Army War College, Jamwal in his 30-year-long service had specialised in undersea battles to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines.

Originally from Jammu, Jamwal is survived by his wife Geeta and two children who live in Delhi. He was commissioned into the navy July 1, 1980.

As soon as the news of his death spread, people in Jammu started trooping in large numbers to meet his father, Major General (retd) Jagdish Singh Jamwal.

‘He was a brave man,’ the father remembered of his son.

Poised even after hearing the ‘most shocking news of my life’, the senior Jamwal said: ‘It’s a great loss to me.’

In Kochi, naval officials said they were yet to decide whether the officer’s funeral will take place in Kochi or in Delhi.

‘If it happens here (in Kochi) it would be formal ceremonial funeral,’ said Kumar.

Jamwal’s afloat appointments included tenures on Indian naval ships Taragiri, Atul, Rajput, Ranvijay.

He also commanded the Vibhuti and Kuthar and was commissioning executive officer of guided missile destroyer Delhi and commissioning commanding officer of guided missile frigate Beas.

He was the Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to the president of India 1983-85.

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