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Admiral R. Hari Kumar assumes charge as 25th Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy

Source : The Hindu

Admiral R. Hari Kumar assumes charge as 25th Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy
The newly-appointed Naval Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar (R) being welcomed by the outgoing Naval Chief Admiral Karambir Singh at South Block, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021. (Credit: PTI Photo)

Admiral R. Hari Kumar on Tuesday assumed charge as the 25th Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) from outgoing Chief Admiral Karambir Singh who retired on superannuation after a career spanning over 41 years in service. He was earlier serving as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) Western Naval Command and was appointed as the next CNS on November 9. 

Admiral Kumar’s tenure comes as the Navy is currently in the process of revising its 15-year Maritime Capability Perspective Plan, expected to be ready by the first quarter of next year, to align it with the 10-year Integrated Capability Development Plan being formulated by the Department of Military Affairs (DMA). 

The 130-ship Indian Navy also has a series of major modernisation plans under way, including more submarines and armed drones, which have already seen delays and would need to be accelerated. 

Admiral Kumar graduated from J-squadron, 61 Course National Defence Academy, in December 1981 and was commissioned into the Executive Branch of the Navy on January 1, 1983. 

During a career spanning nearly 39 years, he has served in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. Admiral Kumar’s Sea Command includes Coast Guard Ship C-01, INS Nishank, Missile Corvette, INS Kora and Guided Missile Destroyer INS Ranvir. He also commanded aircraft carrier INS Viraat. He also served as Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet. 

First Vice Chief of Defence Staff 

Before taking over as FOC-in-C Western Naval Command, Admiral Kumar was Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee and in that capacity the first Vice Chief of Defence Staff, as the position is now referred to awaiting formal notification, post creation of the institution of Chief of Defence Staff and DMA, where he played a key role in its setting up and operationalisation. 

This experience would be useful as the armed forces are on the verge the biggest reorganisation since Independence, to be converted into integrated triservice theatre commands. 

Admiral Kumar’s ashore appointments include Command Gunnery Officer at Headquarters Western Naval Command, Naval Adviser to Government of Seychelles and Training Commander INS Dronacharya. He has also served in the Civil Military Operations Centre of U.N. Mission in Somalia (UNOSOM I) at Mogadishu from December 1992 to June 1993. 

He has undergone courses at the Naval War College, U.S., Army War College, Mhow and Royal College of Defence Studies, U.K. 

Increased maritime engagements 

During the tenure of outgoing CNS Admiral Singh, the Navy has seen a manifold increase in maritime engagements in the region, both with littoral states and major partners. This was backed by a series of bilateral logistics support agreements and maritime cooperation agreements. 

In terms of modernisation, construction of the first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant, after delays, made progress in the last few years and began sea trials recently with Admiral Singh at the helm. It is scheduled to be commissioned in August 2022 coinciding with 75 years of Independence and the completion of the aviation trials and operationalisation will be overseen by Admiral Kumar.

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