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Vice-Admiral Sureesh Mehta appointed navy chief
September 01, 2006 18:03 IST
Last Updated: September 01, 2006 19:27 IST
Seniormost naval officer and fighter pilot Vice-Admiral Sureesh Mehta was on Friday named as the country's new chief of Naval Staff.
Mehta, currently flag officer commanding-in-chief Eastern Naval Command, will assume the new post on October 31, on retirement of the present Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, according to a defence ministry announcement in New Delhi.
Born on August 18, 1947, Mehta, an alumnus of National Defence Academy, has held many prestigious onboard and staff appointments including having commanded the Western Fleet, the sword arm of the navy during Operation Parakaram.
An aviator like the present chief, Mehta has extensively operated from aircraft carriers, including INS Vikrant.
Promoted to the rank of rear admiral in 1995, the new chief has served as flag officer Goa area.
In the rank of vice-admiral, Mehta has served as director general of Coast Guard and deputy chief of Naval Staff.
His other important assignments include the command of the frigates INS Beas and INS Godavari and also the premier naval air station -- INS Garuda in Goa.
He is a recipient of Ati Vishist Seva Medal in 1995 and Param Vishist Seva Medal in 2005 for exceptional meritorious service.
The admiral assumed command of the premier Eastern Naval Command in 2005 and it was during his tenure that the first-ever President naval fleet review was held on the country's east coast, which saw participation by over 66 warships and 50 aircraft of combined naval fleet.
It was also under his command that the navy despatched warships on humantarian missions to various countries post-tsunami disaster in December 2004.