Arun Prakash

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For the educator, see Arun Prakash (educator).
Arun Prakash
Arun Prakash.jpg
Born October 1944 (age 70)
Allegiance  India
Service/branch Indian Navy
Rank Admiral
Commands held Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy
Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Awards Vir Chakra
Param Vishist Seva Medal
Ati Vishist Seva Medal

Arun Prakash PVSM, AVSM, VrC, VSM (born October 1944), served as Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee from 31 July 2004 to 31 October 2006. He is one of India's most decorated naval officers.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Prakash grew up in the Kashmir Valley, where his father rose to be a District Commissioner of Leh.[2]

Arun Prakash graduated from the Indian Air Force Test Pilots School in 1976, the Defence Services Staff College in 1979, and the U.S. Naval War College in 1990.


Joining the Indian Navy, Prakash specialized in naval aviation, qualifying as a pilot in the Sea Hawk jet fighter, flying from the deck of the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in 1968. His assignments in naval aviation included flying Islander aircraft with Indian Navy Air Squadron 550, Vampire and Kiran aircraft with Indian Navy Air Squadron 551, and Seahawk and Sea Harrier aircraft with Indian Navy Air Squadron 300. In the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War, Lieutenant Prakash flew Hawker Hunter aircraft for the 20th Squadron Lightnings. For his gallantry in air action over West Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir, he received the Vir Chakra.[1]

The INS Vikrant in the early 1980s, carrying Sea Harriers and other aircraft

In 1976, he flew the Super Constellation for maritime air reconnaissance with Indian Navy Air Squadron 312. In 1983, while in command of Indian Navy Air Squadron 300, he supervised the training of Indian Navy crew members in the United Kingdom for the Sea Harrier and ferried the newly acquired aircraft back to India. He commanded two Air Squadrons and the naval air station INS Hansa. In his aviation assignments, he logged more than 2,500 hours in the air in single and multi-engined, shore-based and carrier-based aircraft.[3]

As a junior officer, he served afloat in the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, INS Kirpan, and INS Delhi. He commanded the missile boat INS ''Chatak'', the training frigate INS Beas, the antisubmarine warfare frigate INS Vindhyagiri, and the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.[3]

Flag officer[edit]

Prakash with a Dassault Rafale at Istres-Le Tubé Air Base in 2005

Promoted to Rear Admiral in 1993, he served as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air) and Assistant Chief of Personnel. As a Vice Admiral, he was Commandant of the National Defence Academy in 1997-1999, and Chief of Naval Personnel at Naval Headquarters in 1999-2001. In October 2001, he became the first commander-in-chief of the newly established Andaman and Nicobar Command. Then, on 31 December 2002, he became Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command. Following this assignment, he became Vice Chief of Naval Staff for a brief period before being promoted to Admiral and becoming the 20th Chief of Naval Staff, Indian Navy, on 31 July 2004.[1]

Prakash retired as Chief of Naval Staff in October 2006.[4] While serving as Chief of Naval Staff, Prakash played an important role in renewing the Indian Navy's relationships with the United States Navy[5] and in developing a vision of India's maritime strategy.

Decorations and medals[edit]

Published writings[edit]

  • From the Crow's Nest: A Compendium of Speeches and Writings on Maritime and Other Issues, New Delhi: Lancer Publishers, 2007.


  1. ^ a b c d "Arun Prakash to be new Naval Chief", The Times of India, June 1, 2004, retrieved July 10, 2011 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Arun Prakash next Naval Chief", The Hindu, June 2, 2004, retrieved July 10, 2011 
  4. ^ "Sureesh Mehta is new Navy chief", IBN Live, October 31, 2006, retrieved July 10, 2011 
  5. ^ "US, India making military deal amid better relations", Daily Times (Pakistan), March 25, 2005, retrieved July 10, 2011 


Military offices
Preceded by
Madhvendra Singh
Chief of the Naval Staff
Succeeded by
Sureesh Mehta