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Admiral R Hari Kumar on Tuesday took charge as the new chief of the Indian Navy after incumbent Admiral Karambir Singh retired after 41 years of service.

Admiral Kumar was serving as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command before taking the reins of the force as the 25th chief of the Naval Staff.

Kumar hugged and touched his mother Vijayalakshmi's feet seeking blessings after taking charge.

"It is a great honour for me to take over as the 25th chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy. The Navy's focus is on national maritime interests and maritime security challenges," he told reporters.

"We will put all strength for this. My predecessors have guided the Navy with visionary leadership. I too wish to take the Navy forward in the same direction and build on their achievements and accomplishments to move towards jointness," Admiral Kumar said.

His remarks on jointness are seen as a reference to the ambitious theaterisation plan.

Admiral Singh said, "I am handing over the charge to a very illustrious and professional teammate who has an excellent run in the services. I am sure, under his leadership, the Navy will achieve higher heights of glory."

Born on April 12, 1962, Admiral Kumar was commissioned into the executive branch of the Indian Navy on January 1, 1983.

He is an alumnus of the prestigious National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla.

In his career spanning nearly 39 years, he has commanded Coast Guard Ship C-01, Indian Navy Ship (INS) Nishank, missile corvette INS Kora and guided-missile destroyer INS Ranvir and aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

A gunnery specialist, he has held several key appointments, including Fleet Operations Officer and Fleet Gunnery Officer of Western Fleet, Executive Officer (EXO) of INS Vipul and Gunnery Officer (GO) of INS Ranjit.

His shore appointments include Command Gunnery Officer at the headquarters of Western Naval Command, Naval Advisor to Government of Seychelles, UN Mission in Mogadishu in Somalia and Training Commander, INS Dronacharya.

Before taking over as FOC-in-C Western Naval Command, he was the Chief of the Integrated Staff Committee of headquarters, Integrated Defence Staff.

Admiral Kumar has undergone courses at the Naval War College, the US, Army War College, Mhow and Royal College of Defence Studies, the UK.

He has been decorated with the Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM), the Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM) and Vishist Seva Medal (VSM).

Separately, Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh took over as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Western Naval Command.

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