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Officer and a Gentleman

By Commodore VENUGOPAL MENON (Retd)
November 15, 2021 07:10 IST
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Having known Vice Admiral Hari Kumar personally and professionally, Commodore Venugopal Menon (retd) wishes him a fantastic tenure as Chief of the Naval Staff.
Under his command may the Indian Navy grow in all dimensions as the nation strive to establish itself as a credible sea power in future.

IMAGE: Chief of the Naval Staff Designate Vice Admiral Hari Kumar. Photograph: ANI Twitter
 

The government has appointed Vice Admiral Hari Kumar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, presently the Flag officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command, as the next Chief of the Naval staff with effect from the afternoon of November 30, 2021.

Admiral Hari Kumar is a true example of a naval officer as portrayed by Admiral John Paul Jones who is referred as the father of the US navy.

'It is by no means enough that an officer should be capable. He should be as well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor.... No meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his attention, even if the reward be only one word of approval. Conversely, he should not be blind to a single fault in any subordinate.'

Hari was born on April 12, 1962 in Thiruvananthapuram and did his schooling at the Mannam Memorial Residential Higher Secondary School followed by a pre degree course at the Government Arts College, Thiruvananthapuram.

He joined the 61st course at the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, in January 1979.

He was commissioned in the Executive branch of the Indian Navy on January 1, 1983 and specialised in Gunnery and Missile warfare.

During his long and distinguished service spanning nearly 39 years, he has served in a variety of command, staff and instructional appointments.

His Sea commands includes INS Nishank, the missile corvette INS Kora, the guided missile destroyer INS Ranvir and the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

He has also served as Fleet Gunnery Officer and Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet.

As a Rear Admiral, he has held the prestigious appointments of Commandant, Naval War College, Goa, Flag Officer Sea Training and the prestigious command of the sword arm of the Indian Navy, the Western Fleet.

On promotion to Vice Admiral, he has served as the Chief of Staff, Western Naval Command, Chief of Integrated Staff Committee of HQIDS before taking over as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command.

He has undergone courses at the Naval War College, the US Army War College and the Royal College of Defense Studies, UK.

A scholar warrior, he holds a M Phil degree in defence and strategic studies from the University of Mumbai and a postgraduate diploma in shipping management from the Narottam Morarjee institute of shipping in Mumbai.

The Admiral takes over the reins of the Indian Navy at a crucial period when the government is undertaking a reorganisation of the command structure of the Indian armed forces to adopt the concepts of joint warfare and migration into theatre commands.

As the thrust towards indigenisation and modernisation of the Navy is on the anvil, I would like to recall George Washington: 'It follows then as certain as that night succeeds day, that without a decisive Naval force we can do nothing definitive and with it, everything honorable and glorious.'

Having known the Admiral personally and professionally, I would like to wish him a fantastic tenure as the Chief of the Naval Staff. Under his command may the Indian Navy grow in all dimensions as the nation strive to establish itself as a credible sea power in future!

Shano Varuna!

Commodore Venugopal Menon served in the Indian Navy for 29 years in operational roles, including commands at sea, and training and staff assignments at Naval HQ.
In addition to the staff and war courses in the Indian Navy, he underwent the executive course at the Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies, Honolulu.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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