Vice Adm MS Pawar Retires after Nearly Four Decades of Distinguished Service & Recounts Life in Dress Whites

"As I transit to life after 51 years in uniform, including 11 years at Sainik School Korukonda and the National Defence Academy, I do so with the utmost satisfaction - of having kept a taut watch on deck in weather fair and foul..."

Vice Adm MS Pawar Retires after Nearly Four Decades of Distinguished Service & Recounts Life in Dress Whites

Vice Admiral MS Pawar, AVSM, VSM assumed charge as Deputy Chief of Naval Staff on 01 Feb 19. A graduate of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune, he was commissioned on 01 Jul 1982. During the abinitio naval training he was adjudged ‘Best all round Cadet’ and also stood first overall in the yearlong Sub Lieutenant Technical Courses. He later specialised in Navigation and Direction and stood first in the coveted and highly competitive course.

The Admiral has held various challenging Staff and Command assignments during his distinguished career and has had a wide ranging experience of over 25 years in sea going billets onboard diverse platforms including the Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier. He was the Navigating Officer of the Landing Ship Tank (Large) Magar during India’s Peace Keeping Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, the Fleet Navigating Officer of the Western Fleet during the Kargil War, and the Fleet Operations Officer of Western Fleet when the Indian Navy commenced anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

He has commanded the missile boat Nashak as the commissioning CO, the missile corvette Kuthar, and frigate Talwar. On deputation to Mauritius, he commanded the Mauritius National Coast Guard Ship Vigilant and subsequently was appointed as the Commandant of the Mauritius National Coast Guard.

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His Joint Service tenures include instructional duties at India’s National Defence Academy, and the Deputy Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Maritime) at the Headquarters of the Integrated Defence Staff. On promotion to Flag Rank, the Admiral has held key assignments of Flag Officer Sea Training, Chief of Staff of Southern Naval Command, and Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujarat Area.

As a Vice Admiral, he oversaw the Indian Navy’s largest base Seabird, as the project’s Director General, and was also the Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command. As the DCNS, he oversaw a number of large scale naval operations, including those undertaken post the terrorist attack in Pulwama, the Indian Navy's deployment in the Persian Gulf amidst US-Iran tensions, and the operations undertaken during the Galwan standoff. He also overselaw large scale Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations both within India and in abroad, large scale Search and Rescue Operations, and Relief Operations undertaken during the COVID pandemic such as Op Samudra Setu I and II and multiple Sagar Missions.

An alumnus of the Royal Naval Staff College, UK; College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai and National Defence College, Delhi, he has won awards at each of these institutions including the prestigious Herbert Lott Prize at Royal Naval Staff college, Greenwich, UK. The Admiral holds a double MPhil in Defence and Strategic Studies from Universities of Mumbai and Madras. He was awarded commendations by the Chief of Naval Staff in 1998, also by the Commissioner of Police, Mauritius in 2003, VSM in 2010, AVSM in 2016, and PVSM in 2021. An accomplished long distance runner, the Admiral is married to Mrs Meena Pawar and they have two children.

The Admiral recounted his life in uniform during his retirement address"

"As I transit to life after 51 years in uniform, including 11 years at Sainik School Korukonda and the National Defence Academy, I do so with the utmost satisfaction - of having kept a taut watch on deck in weather fair and foul; of keeping the 'Service before Self' whilst emulating the Chetwode Motto that is etched on the Sudan Block of NDA; of stepping onboard the deck of almost every ship in the Indian Navy and being at sea for long periods that were made to seem shorter by the rapid pace of activities, whilst also earning the distinction of having the longest service in seagoing billets by any officer to date; of operating in the air & underwater onboard diverse platforms including Launching & Tailhooking on a carrier, as well as experiencing the power of our nuclear submarines; of excelling with awards in every course I undertook in India or abroad; of having commanded the finest set of professionals in the Mauritius National Coast Guard; of tenanting the most challenging appointments and leaving a mark in every single one of them; of being at sea during OP Pawan, the Kargil War, 26/11, the largest Indian Navy Deployment to the Atlantic, and also when the Anti-piracy patrols were launched in the Gulf of Aden which continue till date; of leading by personal example; of never sparing the rod but also never-ever dithering to hug as a mentor; of contributing to building a Navy that the Nation is proud of; of rubbing shoulders with my team-mates on the sports field; of forging lasting bonds with officers, men & families.

"God was kind to bless me with a companion & 'sheet anchor' as strong as Meena, and two children Priyadarshani & Pralhad who formed the 'chain cable', together weathering every storm, while I was away at sea.

"To My parents - simple village folks, who like the shafts of a ship, toiled hard unrecognised but propelled me ahead whilst providing a stable moral compass and instilling patriotic fervour by example - my father having been a part of the Seva Dal as a student in the 1940s and my mother who continues to bear ‘जय हिंद’ , tattooed on her forearm even prior independence; To the officers and men I was privileged to Command, and the taut ships that they made; To the innumerable shipmates who never hesitated to pull the oar with all the strength at their disposal; To the teachers, Commanding Officers and seniors who walked the extra mile to bring out the best in me; To the juniors and contemporary professionals from whom I learnt; To fellow Saikorians, Coursemates - some of who have sadly moved to the other world, and the Naval community at large who could be banked upon for support; To my comrades in the sister services, and others in civil services who shared their unique perspectives; To the Laws of the Navy that moulded me to squarely face the 'man in the mirror'; And to many more.....but most importantly, for the privilege and honour to don the Naval uniform and 'Serve’; I owe much and shall remain ever in debt.

"I 'Ring off Main Engines' as the DCNS of the most professional Navy in the world, which during my watch,- stared the adversary in the eye, forged bonds with like minded navies to promote secure seas ever-respecting the rules of the game, 'walked the talk' to remain the 'Preferred Security Partner' in the IOR, 'sailed with dispatch' into the eye of the storm to rescue the shipwrecked, launched Operation Samudra Setu to provide succour during a pandemic of the kind the world has never seen before, and continued to remain focussed on the distant horizon whilst preparing for what lies beyond.

"It is with a sense of great pride and fulfilment that I pass on my baton to a set of able hands, and wish the Navy - that is my mother, success and glory, no matter what the weather."

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