New Delhi: Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, the present commander in chief of the Western Naval Command, will take over as the navy chief from May 31, it was announced on Thursday. The defence ministry said the appointment was made by the government on Thursday. Lanba, who will succeed Admiral R.K. Dhowan, joined the navy in 1978 and during his service spanning nearly 38 years, has held a variety of command, operational and staff appointments. His notable command appointments include of minesweeper INS Kakinada, frigate INS Himgiri and as executive Officer of aircraft carrier INS Viraat. Before taking over as flag officer commanding in chief of of the premier western command, he headed the Southern Naval Command, was commandant of the National Defence College and navy vice chief. A qualified specialist in navigation and direction, he has attended the course at the Royal College of Defence Studies in Britain.