Admiral Arun Prakash
PVSM, AVSM, VrC, VSM, ADC
CNS, 31 July 2004 - 31 Oct 2006
Admiral Arun Prakash assumed charge of the Indian Navy, as the 18th Chief of Naval Staff, on 31 July 2004. He was born in Anantnag, in the Kashmir valley, in October 1944. His father served in the Kashmir Civil Service, retiring as the District Commissioner of Leh, and young Arun's early childhood was spent in various towns of the Valley as well as Jammu and Ladakh districts. Although his two elder brothers served in the Indian Army, he was struck by sea fever from an early age and joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) as a Naval Cadet in 1961. He was formally commissioned into the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy on 01 January 1966.Admiral Prakash specialized in aviation, and qualified as an aircraft carrier pilot on the Sea Hawk jet fighter from the deck of INS Vikrant in 1968. His aviation tenures include service in a number of Indian Naval Air Squadrons, namely INAS 550 Flying Fish, INAS 551 Phantoms and INAS 300 White Tigers. In 1976, when the maritime reconnaissance role came to the Indian Navy, he converted to, and briefly flew the four-engined Super Constellation with the INAS 312 Albatross unit. He has commanded two Air Squadrons, and the Naval Air Station INS Hansa. While in command of INAS 300, he supervised the conversion and operational training of the crew on the Sea Harrier VSTOL fighter in 1983, and ferried the aircraft back to India from the United Kingdom. He has flown 2500 hours on a variety of single and multi-engined aircraft from the aircraft carrier and ashore.
As a young officer, Admiral Prakash served afloat on the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, the ASW frigate INS Kirpan and the light cruiser INS Delhi. In subsequent years, he was privileged to command a variety of seagoing units which included the missile boat INS Chatak, the training frigate INS Beas and the ASW frigate INS Vindhyagiri, and the aircraft carrier INS Viraat. He commanded the Eastern Fleet from 1995 to 1997. On promotion to Rear Admiral in 1993, he served as ACNS (Air) and as the Assistant Chief of Personnel. In the rank of Vice Admiral, he has been the Commandant of the National Defence Academy (from 1997 to 1999) and Chief of Personnel at Naval HQ (from 1999 to 2001). In October 2001, he was appointed the first Commander-in-Chief of the newly created Andaman & Nicobar Command and served in that capacity till taking over as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the prestigious Western Naval Command - the sword arm of the Indian Navy - on 31 December 2002. He took over as the Vice Chief of Naval Staff at Naval HQ on 17 October 2003 and held that post till he became the Chief on Naval Staff on 31 July 2004. He was appointed as the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) on 28 January 2005.
Admiral Prakash graduated from the IAF's Test Pilots School in 1976, from the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in 1979 and from the US Naval War College in 1990. As a young Lieutenant, during the 1971 war, he served with an IAF fighter-bomber unit (No.20 Lightnings Squadron) flying Hawker Hunters, and was awarded the Vir Chakra for gallantry in air action over West Pakistan and Jammu & Kashmir. He is the recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal (1985), the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (1991) and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (2002) for distinguished services rendered. The Admiral comes from a family with a strong military tradition; his two elder brothers, having both retired after distinguished careers in the Indian Army, and many nephews and nieces either serving in the armed forces or married to service officers. The Admiral and Mrs. Kumkum Prakash have one daughter who is married to a retired IAF pilot. Upon his retirement on 31 October 2006, he completed more than 40 years of distinguished service to the nation and to the Indian Navy.