Admiral Inspecting the ceremonial parade.
Admiral Inspecting the ceremonial parade.

Ranjit Mahanti

THE Vice Admiral Surinder Pal Singh Cheema (PVSM, AVSM, NM) assumed command of Southern Naval Command as its Commander in-Chief at an impressive ceremonial parade held at INS Garuda on Thursday. The Flag Officer prior to assuming the command laid wreath at the War Memorial to offer remembrances to thousands of martyrs who had fought for the country.

The Admiral was commissioned into the Indian Navy on January 1, 1977.  He is a graduate of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasala, The Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington and the College of Naval Warfare (CNW), Mumbai.A specialist in Missile and Gunnery, he spent majority of his time on afloat and operational appointments. He has had the distinction of being the Commanding Officer of five frontline ships, namely, the missile boat INS Nishank, Mauritian Coast Guard OPV Vigilant, the missile corvette INS Khanjar, the stealth frigate INS Trishul and the prestigious Aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

His appointments ashore include the Commandant of the Naval Academy and Commanding Officer INS Mandovi. He also has the unique distinction of winning both the Lentaigne (Best Dissertation) and Scudder Medals (First in overall order of merit) while undergoing course at DSSC.

On promotion to the Flag rank in May 2006, he was appointed ACNS, Information Warfare and Operations (IW & Ops) at IHQ, MoD (Navy).  His other flag appointments include the Chief of Staff, Western Naval Command, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, Controller Personnel Services, IHQ MoD (Navy), DCIDS Perspective Planning and Force Development (PP&FD) and DCIDS (DOT).  His appointment as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Naval Command is a unique distinction being his third Command as a Commander-in-Chief since being promoted to C-in-C grade on 31 Aug 12. Prior to this he has been the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (CISC) to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee as also the Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Forces Command – a Tri-Services Command responsible for all nuclear forces of the country.

The Officer has excelled and distinguished himself in several operational appointments at sea earning ‘Mention in Despatches’ for duty in the face of enemy during operations in Sri Lanka. He was also awarded the Nau Sena Medal (Gallantry) when in Command of INS Nishank; AVSM when in Command of INS Viraat and PVSM as the C-in-C, Strategic Forces Command.  He is a keen sportsman and plays Squash and Golf.

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