Vice Admiral Hari Kumar Named New Navy Chief

Navigation of key procurements for naval modernisation to be high on agenda

Issue: 5-2021 By Vishal ThaparPhoto(s): By Indian Navy
Navy Chief-Designate Vice Admiral R. Hari Kumar is known to enjoy enormous goodwill in the Navy, which he has served since 1983. His experience at sea ranges from command of the missile boat INS Nishank to that of the missile corvette INS Kora and the guided missile destroyer INS Ranvir, besides the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

The Government in a latenight announcement on November 9 named Vice Admiral R. Hari Kumar as the next Chief of the Indian Navy.

Presently the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Indian Navy’s sword arm Western Command, Vice Admiral Hari Kumar will succeed the outgoing Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh to four-star rank on November 30. He will be the 25th Chief of the Indian Navy.

In an outstanding 39-year career, Vice Admiral Kumar has commanded the guided missile destroyer INS Ranvir and the aircraft carrier INS Viraat. He has held some of the most critical appointments, including that of the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet.

Vice Admiral Kumar will helm the Indian Navy at a time of increasing military assertion by China in the Indo-Pacific. On the military modernisation front, he will be required to give momentum to key procurements, including the Project 75 (I) submarine building programme and the Naval Light Utility Helicopter (NUH) acquisition, both under the Strategic Partnership Model

The Chief of Naval Staff-designate has also served as the Vice-Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Personnel and Commandant of the Naval War College.

Vice Admiral Kumar will helm the Indian Navy at a time of increasing military assertion by China in the Indo-Pacific. On the military modernisation front, he will be required to give momentum to key procurements, including the Project 75 (I) submarine building programme and the Naval Light Utility Helicopter (NUH) acquisition, both under the Strategic Partnership Model. The Indian Navy under his leadership will also need to make a strong case for a third aircraft carrier and ensuring greater pace and urgency for the nuclear-powered submarine programme.

(Left - Right) CNS-Designate Vice Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command presenting a memento to Admiral M. Shaheen Iqbal, Chief of the Naval Staff, Bangladesh Navy upon his visit on October 27, 2021

With the Government’s decision in favour of Vice Admiral Kumar, the leadership course for the Indian Navy has been charted till April 2024. Vice Admiral Kumar is known to enjoy enormous goodwill in the Navy, which he has served since 1983. His experience at sea ranges from command of the missile boat INS Nishank as a young officer to that of the missile corvette INS Kora and the guided missile destroyer INS Ranvir, besides the aircraft carrier INS Viraat. He has also served as Fleet Operations Officer and Fleet Gunnery Officer of the Western Fleet.

The Indian Navy’s Chief-designate is an alumnus of the US Naval War College and the Royal College of Defence Studies, UK, and holds a Master’s Degree from King’s College, London. He has also served as Naval Advisor to the Government of Seychelles. He has also served in the UN Mission in Somalia (UNOSOM I) as part of its Civil-Military Operations Centre in 1992-93.

He is from the 61st course of the National Defence Academy, where he was assigned to the Juliet Squadron.