Bengaluru : Vice Admiral Makarand A Hampiholi, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), Nausena Medal (NM), is presently the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command [FOC-in-C (South)]. The Southern Naval Command (SNC) is one of the three Command-level formations of the Indian Navy and is headquartered in Kochi, Kerala. The Flag Officer is responsible for overall training in the Indian Navy, operational control of SNC ships and administration of various units of the SNC. He is also responsible for the coastal defence of the state of Kerala and the union Territories of Lakshadweep and Mahe as the CINC Coastal Defence South.
Training Command: The Southern Naval Command has been designated as the Training Command of the Indian Navy and is responsible for the training of officers and sailors right from the ab-initio to the advanced stages. The FOC-in-C (South) exercises control over training establishments that are spread across the seven states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala, Kerala is also a part of the SNC. Vice Admiral Makarand A Hampiholi also highlights that the yearly training load of the SNC is about 17,000 Naval personnel and about 750 personnel from Friendly Foreign Countries.
INS Vikrant: The Indian Navy at Kochi and Cochin Shipyard Limited recently received national attention for the realisation of India’s Aatmanirbharta dream when the indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, the largest warship ever constructed by the Indian civilisation was commissioned by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi on 02 September 2022 at Kochi. The ship is named Vikrant as a tribute to the country’s first aircraft carrier (INS Vikrant) which served the nation from 1961 to 1997 and played a stellar role in the Indo-Pak War of 1971. Vice Admiral Makarand A Hampiholi brings out that apart from INS Vikrant, there are a large number of other warships that are under construction at Cochin Shipyard Limited.
Accomplishments all Along: Vice Admiral Makarand A Hampiholi assumed command of the Southern Naval Command as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief on 30 November 2021. The appointment is a befitting recognition of his distinguished service to the Indian Navy and accomplishments all along. Prior to his present appointment, he was responsible for Naval operations as the Director General Naval Operations (March 2019 to July 2020) and Commandant of the Indian Naval Academy (July 2020 to November 2021).
President’s Gold Medal: Vice Admiral Makarand A Hampiholi is an alumnus of Sainik School, Bijapur and the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla. At NDA, he was awarded the ‘President’s Gold Medal’ for being adjudged the ‘Best All-Round Cadet’ of the 64th course. He was subsequently commissioned in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy on 01 July 1985.
Early Career: After completing ab-initio training, he was selected as the commissioning non-specialist Gunnery Officer of INS Cuddalore and subsequently specialised in Anti-Submarine Warfare in 1991. He thereafter served onboard IN Ships Himgiri, Agray and Ganga as ASW Officer. These specialist tenures were followed by appointments as Instructor at ASW School and Executive Officer/ Principal Warfare Officer onboard INS Khukri (Missile Corvette). During his tenure onboard INS Khukri, the ship was awarded the ‘Most Spirited Ship’ Trophy embodying the spirit and josh of the crew under his able leadership.
Best Ship Trophies: He continued to excel in his subsequent tenures as Commanding Officer of INS Nashak (Missile Vessel), INS Magar [Landing Ship Tank (Large)] and INS Talwar (Frigate). During his Command of INS Nashak and INS Talwar, the ships were awarded the ‘Best Ship’ trophies for excellence in all spheres of activities.
Commandant Naval Academy Twice: Vice Admiral Makarand A Hampiholi’s command assignments ashore include Commandant of the National Coast Guard, Mauritius from April 2003 to April 2005, wherein, he was commended by the Commissioner of Police, Mauritius and Commandant, Naval Academy and Commanding Officer, INS Mandovi from June 2007 to June 2009. He thus has the rare distinction of being the only officer to have commanded the Indian Naval Academy twice, albeit in different ranks.
Other Staff Tenures: His staff tenures include tenures as Staff Officer (ASW) at Local Work-up Team (West), Joint Director at the Directorate of Personnel, Naval Assistant to the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Senior Directing Staff at Naval War College, Mumbai and Principal Director at the Directorate of Staff Requirements.
Promotion to Rear Admiral: He was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in February 2015 and appointed as the Assistant Chief of Personnel (Human Resource Development) at Naval Headquarters. He was subsequently appointed as the Flag Officer Sea Training at Kochi in October 2016 prior to being selected for the coveted command of the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy as Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet from January 2018 to March 2019.
Courses: The Flag Officer has been a super achiever. He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington where he was awarded the ‘Scudder Medal’ for standing first in the Overall Order of Merit. He was awarded the Commander-in-Chief’s Silver Medal for his dissertation whilst undergoing the Naval Higher Command Course at the erstwhile College of Naval Warfare, Karanja. Vice Admiral Makarand A Hampiholi is also a graduate of the prestigious National Defence College, New Delhi. He has two M.Phil degrees to his credit, one each from JNU and the University of Mumbai.
Nausena Medal and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal: He was awarded the Nausena Medal (Devotion to Duty) in 2011 and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) in 2019 for exemplary service.
Hobbies and Interests: The Admiral is an athlete and a keen golf, squash and basketball player. He also enjoys music.
Humility to the Core: Despite all his achievements and position in the Indian Navy, he comes across as a simple, humble and thorough gentleman who is fully grounded.
Indebted to Parents and Teachers: Recollecting his past, he thanks his parents for his solid upbringing and the wisdom that they passed on to him. He is also ever grateful to them for the schooling at St Joseph’s High School, Dharwad and Sainik School, Bijapur. He fondly remembers his teachers and seniors at St. Joseph’s High School, Sainik School and NDA and acknowledges their contribution to shaping him as an individual and leader. He also remembers the contribution of his seniors in the Indian Navy who has groomed, mentored and taught him all through his service career. He is also indebted to the sailor instructors who have taught him in various courses.
His Pillar of Support: He is unconditional in acknowledging the support of his spouse Mrs Madhumati Hampiholi throughout his distinguished career and asserts that he is blessed to have a wife who has taken charge of the home front whilst he was sailing onboard ships or at the office. He is ever grateful to her for being the pillar of support in his life.