Indian navy officer dies in accident on new destroyer

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - An Indian navy officer died on Friday from a gas leak during shipyard work on a new destroyer, just two weeks after a fatal submarine accident prompted the resignation of the country's top naval commander.

A navy spokesman said an unknown number of dock workers was also taken to hospital after being affected by a leak of carbon dioxide on the INS Kolkata, which was docked at a naval shipyard in Mumbai, the country's financial capital.

No further details of the incident were immediately available.

The guided-missile destroyer, now being put through sea trials, had been due to be commissioned in 2010, but project delays pushed launch plans to this year.

Foot-dragging by defence ministry officials has been blamed for delays in commissioning new vessels that have undermined India's ability to defend its 7,500-km coastline.

The chief of navy staff, Admiral D.K. Joshi, resigned two weeks ago, after two officers died in smoke engulfing a rear compartment of their Soviet-built submarine.

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