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R D Goyal takes over as Director (Projects) in GAIL

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R D Goyal
R D Goyal
Mr R D Goyal has taken over as Director (Projects) in GAIL (India) Limited, succeeding Mr Santosh Kumar who superannuated on June 30.

Prior to his new assignment, Mr Goyal was Executive Director (Projects) and had spearheaded the task of concurrent implementation of some of the company's major cross-country gas pipeline projects such as Dahej - Vijaipur, Vijaipur - Dadri, Dadri – Bawana - Nangal, Chainsa – Jhajjar - Hissar Pipelines stretching over 2,200 km. and installation of four compressor stations at Jhabua, Vijaipur, Kailaras and Chainsa.

Mr Goyal has a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from MITS, Gwalior, and a Master in Production Engineering from the University of Roorkee, now an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

He started his career as a Graduate Apprentice with National Fertilizers Ltd. and , during his stint with the company, was involved in the commissioning of the first gas-based fertilizer plant on the Hazira - Vijaipur - Jagdishpur Pipeline at NFL, Vijaipur.

After joining GAIL in 1990, Mr Goyal has held several key positions and some of the initial assignments included construction and commissioning of the twin LPG extraction plants at Vijaipur and Jamnagar – Loni cross country LPG Pipeline. After a brief stint as the Head of Zonal Marketing Office at Jaipur, he was entrusted with the charge of running the HVJ- GREP pipeline networks in addition to the LPG plants at Vijaipur. The Dahej- Vijaipur pipeline (DVPL) to evacuate LNG from Dahej was completed during the period.

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Takahara is non-executive director of Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra)

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Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited (TTML) has announced the appointment of Mr Koichi Takahara as a non-executive director of the company with immediate effect.

Mr Takahara has been the chairman of Japan's Docomo inter-Touch and the executive director and head of business development team at the global business department of NTT Docomo.

He also has significant experience in handling global alliance activities with cellular operators in the Asian region, development of mobile multimedia services, and has contributed to Docomo’s 3G (FOMA) launch, fix-mobile conversion (FMC) service and public wi-fi internet access service, a press release from TTML said.

Mr Takahara has completed his masters in business administration (MBA) from the University of Maryland (USA) and holds a master of engineering degree from Kyoto University (Japan).

It may be recalled that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had approved a proposal by NTT Docomo to acquire upto 20.25 per cent of TTML and to convert it into an operating-cum-holding company from an operating company.

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Vinod Sachdeva to be first Ambassador to Niger

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Mr Vinod Kumar Sachdeva, currently Minister in the High Commission of India in Ottawa, has been appointed as India's Ambassador to the Republic of Niger.

A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr Sachdeva would be the country's first Ambassador to Niger with residence in Niamey.

He is expected to take up his assignment shortly, the release added.

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Soni condoles death of film-maker Lohithadas

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Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni today expressed grief on the demise of well-known Malayalam screenplay writer and director A K Lohithadas, who died in Kochi on Sunday morning after a heart attack.

Describing Lohithadas as one of the finest writers in the history of Malayalam cinema, the Minister said that the void created by his death at such a young age would be hard to fill.

"My heartfelt condolences go to the bereaved family. The world of cinema has been deprived of a real talent," she said.

Lohithadas created quite an impact with his maiden script, Thaniyavarthanam (1987 with Mammootty in the lead), which is still regarded as one of the finest films in Malayalam cinema history.

He went on to write the screenplays for several successful movies and directed many films that won critical acclaim and also became major box office successes. He won a number of awards for his screenplays and direction during his career.

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Nirupama Rao to be next Foreign Secretary

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Nirupama Rao
Nirupama Rao
Ms Nirupama Rao, currently India's Ambassador to China, has been appointed as the country's next Foreign Secretary, an official announcement said here today.

This was decided at a meeting of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister, it said.

Ms Rao, an officer of the 1973 batch of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), will take over from the present incumbent, Mr Shivshankar Menon, when he retires on July 31.

She will be the second woman to hold the prestigious post after Ms Chokila Iyer, who served as Foreign Secretary from March, 2001 to June, 2002.

Ms Rao was born in Kerala on December 6, 1950. Her early education took place in cities such as Bangalore, Pune, Lucknow and Coonoor. She has a first class Masters degree in English Literature from the Marathwada University. She joined the IFS in 1973.

As a career diplomat, Ms Rao has served in various world capitals, including Washington and Moscow. She served in the East Asia Division of the Ministry of External Affairs from 1984 to 1992, including as Joint Secretary (East Asia).

Ms Rao was Minister in the Indian Embassy in Washington from 1993-1995, in charge of Press Affairs. She was Ambassador of India to Peru from 1995 to 1998. From 1998-1999, she was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy in Moscow. In 1999-2000 she was Distinguished International Executive in Residence at the University of Maryland, USA.

From 2001 to 2002, she served as the first woman spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. Thereafter she was Additional Secretary in charge of Administration & Personnel in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Ms Rao served as the High Commissioner for India in Sri Lanka from 2004-2006. In October, 2006, she took over as the Ambassador of India to China.

Ms Rao was a Fellow of the Centre for International Affairs (now the Weatherhead Centre) of Harvard University from 1992-93.

She is married to Mr Sudhakar Rao, a senior civil servant, who belongs to the Indian Administrative Service and is currently posted as the Chief Secretary of Karnataka. They have two sons, Nikhilesh and Kartikeya.

Ms. Rao’s hobbies include music (Hindustani, Carnatic and Western), theatre and writing. She is also an accomplished singer in her own right. Her first book of poems "Rain Rising" was published in India in 2004 and also released in Sri Lanka.

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IAF veteran Gurdial Singh Paul passes away

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Group Captain Gurdial Singh Paul, a retired air warrior who served the Indian Air Force (IAF) from its formative years, passed away here on Saturday night, IAF sources said today.

He was 93. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, a son and three grandchildren. His funeral was held near Brar Square here today. A wreath was placed on behalf of the IAF by Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Race Course, Air Commodore Ajit S Bhonsle.

Born on 3rd November 1916, in Chittavatni in Pakistan, Gurdial Singh studied at Khalsa College, Amritsar for his B.A. in History.

He joined the Royal Air Force and was commissioned to the IAF at AF Station Tambaram. In 1943, during the Second World War, he visited the United Kingdom for training, sailing from Mumbai to Durban to Southampton on the Elle de France, encountering German U-boats in the Atlantic.

He spent time at various stations of the RAF in London, Cranfield, and Branham. He had the privilege of serving in the same squadron as the actor Clark Gable.

In the IAF, Gurdial Singh had served the with officers like Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh, Air Chief Marshal I H Latif, Air Marshal S Mukherjee and others.

After serving at the AF stations Jalahalli and Secunderabad, Gurdial worked at Air Headquarters, New Delhi for several years in the Adminstration Branch, eventually going to AF Station Avadi as Station Commander in 1967. Before this tenure, it was the Staff College Hyderabad and NDC, New Delhi. Gurdial retired from the Air Force in 1971, as Station Commander Race Course, New Delhi.

In 2003, a surgeon, Col Rai at the Research and Referral Hospital here, decided to operate Gurdial Singh for a stent operation of the intestine, which was relatively new in India at that time. The surgeon was so confident of the health of his patient of 88 years that the four-hour operation was telecast live in a closed circuit to 200 doctors and surgeons attending a conference in the capital.

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Former St Stephen's Principal Anil Wilson passes away

Well-known educationist Anil Wilson, who served as Principal of Delhi's prestigious St Stephen's College for more than 15 years until 2007, died here yesterday after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was 62. He is survived by his wife, educationist Rita Wilson, son Amit Wilson and daughter Aparna Wilson.

The funeral service was held yesterday at the St James Church and he was later buried in the Nicholson Cemetery at Kashmere Gate.

Dr Wilson, who hailed from Himachal Pradesh, did his schooling at St Edward's School in Shimla. He graduated in Science with additional English from the Punjab University and later did his M.A. in English Literature from the Centre for Post-Graduate Studies in Shimla. He taught at the Government College in Shimla for some years before he became the principal of St Stephen's in 1991.

He remained in that post until 2007, except for a short break in 1996 when he was appointed as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Himachal Pradesh University.

After his tenure at St Stephen's, Dr Wilson became the Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University but resigned after some time. He had a short stint with a private university in Gurgaon, but did not stay there long either.

Dr Wilson was also a member of the Board of Governors of Bishop Cotton School in Shimla.

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Bharat Doshi is President of Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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Bharat Doshi
Bharat Doshi
Mr Bharat Doshi, Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd. and Executive Director and Group Chief Financial Officer of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, today took over as President of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Doshi succeeds Dr Rajiv Lall, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of IDFC.

"The theme going ahead is about making a difference by change with continuity. The interaction between business and government will be through proactive participation and concurrent dialogue whilst the policies are being shaped," Mr Doshi said, outlining a three-tier agenda for the ensuing year.

"The chamber will endeavour to evolve a code of ethics and good governance that the member companies can voluntarily adopt.

"The chamber will bring an innovative approach to Corporate Social Responsibility activities – an opportunity for employees of member companies to voluntarily contribute their time and energy for CSR initiatives," he said.

Mr. Nitin Paranjpe, Managing Director and CEO, Hindustan Unilever Ltd., will be the new Vice President of the Chamber.

Established in 1836, the Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry is one of the oldest industry organisations in the country and has more than 2000 prime companies as its members.

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Nilekani to be Chairperson of UIDAI, quits Infosys Board

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The Government announced on Thursday it would appoint Infosys Technologies Limited Co-Chairman Nandan Nilekani as the Chairperson of the Unique Identification (UID) Authority of India in the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister.
Nandan Nilekani
Nandan Nilekani

Infosys Technologies Limited Co-Chairman Nandan Nilekani will be the Chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India in the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister, an official announcement said here today.
 
It said the Cabinet had approved the creation of the position and that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had invited Mr Nilekani, 53, to join the UIDAI as Chairperson.
 
Over a period of time, the UID is expected to become the single universal identification mechanism for all Indians across all government and private sector institutions in the country.
 
Mr Nilekani is one of the founders of Infosys and has served as a director on the company's board since its inception in 1981. From March 2002 to June 22, 2007, he had served as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the company.
 
In Bangalore, Infosys announced that Mr Nilekani would relinquish the position of Co-Chairman and Member of the Board at the company on taking up his new assignment.
 
An Infosys statement said its Board of Directors today accepted Mr Nilekani's  resignation, which will be effective from July 9.  
 
"The Board placed on record its deep sense of appreciation for the services rendered by Mr. Nandan Nilekani as a co-founder, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, and as the Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors." it said.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor of Infosys, said, "We are glad that an extraordinary individual like Nandan has got an opportunity to add value to India through this position. As a company that has always put the interest of the society ahead of itself, Infosys will accept his absence with a sense of duty to a larger cause, but with deep sadness at the departure of one of her most illustrious sons. We, the Infoscions, wish him the best in his new assignment".
 
In 2006, Time magazine had placed the software entrepreneur in the Time 100 list of the World's Most Influential People. In 2004, was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.
 
More recently, Mr Nilekani was in the news for his book, "Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation" in which he discusses the future of India, its recent history, its young population, information technology, caste politics, labour reforms and a host of other topics and ideas.
 
An official press release issued today, announcing Mr Nilekani's appointment, said the functioning of the UID Authority and its activities would serve multiple objectives.
 
It shall have the responsibilities to lay down plan and policies to implement the UID Scheme, shall own and operate the UID Number database and be responsible for its updation and maintenance on an ongoing basis, it said.
 
The UID is expected to obviate the need for multiple documentary proof, facilitate easy verification, facilitate easy availing of government and private services, help welfare programmes reach intended beneficiaries and serve as a basis for e-governance services.
 
The government recognises that the creation of a UID system in a country with over a billion people poses several monumental challenges. The proposed system envisages collaboration among several government agencies backed by intensive use of information technology.
 
The UID has been a long-felt need in India. It was felt that a system of unique identification of every individual would help in better targeting of government's development schemes, serve regulatory purposes (including taxation and licensing), security purposes, and be useful in banking and financial sector activities, among other areas.
 
At present, in the absence of such a nationwide system, each sector of the economy or department of the government or agency adopts its own system of identification.
 
As a result, there are PAN cards, ration cards, Electoral Photo Identity Cards, and so on.
 
These cards issued for specific purposes were of ten found to have inherent limitations in accuracy and currency levels on account of low frequency of usage. Moreover, the multiplicity of such systems renders it impossible to correlate information across sectors and even across institutions within the same sector for providing better services to people. Similarly, different agencies of government are unable to correlate their data relating to any particular individual.
 
The Unique Identity Project seeks to assign a unique identity (UID) number to each individual in the country that would remain a permanent identifier right from birth to death of the individual.
 
From the point of view of any person in the country, the UID offers many benefits. First and foremost, it would obviate the need for a person to produce multiple documentary proofs of his identity for availing of any government service, or private services like opening of a bank account.
 
This is expected to end the needless harassment that people face for availing of basic government services like issuance of passports, driving licences, Electoral Identity Cards, and so on.
 
Backed by intensive use of technology, the UID would greatly facilitate easy verification of a person’s identity and enable a single communication to trigger address changes in all relevant agencies records. It would also serve as the basis for many e-governance services incorporating online verification of a person’s identity.
 
The UID would enable government to ensure that benefits under various welfare programmes reach the intended beneficiaries, prevent cornering of benefits by a few people and minimize frauds. It would enable financial institutions to exchange information regarding defaulters and encourage responsible borrower behaviour.
 
The scheme envisages that at the inception, the UID number will be assigned to all voters by building on current electoral roll data and progressively adding other persons including persons below 18 years of age who are not a part of the voters list in the country.
 
Over a period of time, through failsafe procedures backed by intensive use of technology and with the help of multiple government agencies, the currency and comprehensiveness of the database will be perfected.
 
The scheme is designed to leverage intensive usage of the UID for multiple purposes to provide an efficient and convenient mechanism to update information. Photographs and biometric data will be added progressively to make the identification foolproof. Easy registration and information change procedures are envisaged for the benefit of the people.
 
An Empowered Group of Ministers had in November last year also approved the modalities of collation of the UID scheme with the National Population Register proposed to be created by the Home Ministry through the Registrar General of the Census of India concurrently with the census 2011 in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Citizenship Act.
 
The UID Authority will be responsible for creating and maintaining the core database and to lay down all necessary procedures for issuance and usage of UID including arrangements for collection, validation and authentication of information, proper security of data, rules for sharing and access to information, safeguards to ensure adequate protection of privacy and all aspects related to all of these issues.
 
Any agency, public or private, which deals with individuals and incorporates the UID number of each such individual in its databases, will be able to share information with other agencies which do likewise.
 
According to a tentative time-frame worked out in November last year, the UID is expected to become available to an initial set of users by early 2010. Its usage will be progressively extended to various government programmes and regulatory agencies as well as private sector agencies in the banking, financial services, mobile telephony and other such areas.
 
Mr Nilekani received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India in 1978.
 
In January 2006, he became one of the youngest entrepreneurs to join 20 global leaders on the prestigious World Economic Forum (WEF) Foundation Board.
 
He is a co-founder of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) as well as the Bangalore Chapter of The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE).
 
He was on the Board of Reuters as a non-executive member from January 2007 till the merger of Reuters with Thomson in April 2008.
 
He is the Vice Chairman of The Conference Board, Inc., an international research and business membership organization. He is on the Board of Directors of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).
 
He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and serves as the Co-chairman of the IIT Bombay Heritage Fund.
 
Mr Nilekani is a member of the National Knowledge Commission and also part of the National Advisory Group on e-Governance. He is also a member of the review committee of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. He took over as the elected President of NCAER (the premier, independent, applied economics research institute in India) in April 2008.
 
He has been involved in various initiatives of the central and state governments. He was the Chairman of the Government of India’s IT Task Force for power. He has also served as a member of the sub-committee of the Securities and Exchange Board of India that dealt with issues related to Insider Trading, and as a member of the Reserve Bank of India’s Advisory Group on corporate governance.
 
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Dinesh Jain concurrently accredited to Guatemala

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Mr Dinesh Kumar Jain, currently India's Ambassador to Mexico, has been concurrently appointed as the country's next Ambassador to Guatemala with residence in Mexico City.

In a separate announcement, the Ministry of External Affairs also said that Mr Vishnu Namedo Hade, presently Ambassador of India to Panama, has been concurrently accredited as the country's next Ambassador the El Salvador with residence in Panama.

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Sunil Chopra to be Kellogg interim dean from Sep 1

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Sunil Chopra
Sunil Chopra
Prof Sunil Chopra, currently the Senior Associate Dean for Curriculum and Teaching at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, has been named interim Dean of the school.

Making the announcement, Provost Daniel I Linzer said the appointment would be effective September 1.

Prof Dipak C Jain, who has been dean of the prestigious school for the last eight years, had earlier this month announced his decision to step down on September 1 and return to the school's faculty.

Prof Chopra, who joined Kellogg in 1989, is also the IBM Distinguished Professor of Operations Management at the school.

"Sunil brings a deep understanding of the school, an outstanding record of scholarship and significant administrative experience," Linzer said in the announcement posted on the school's website.

"We will soon begin a national search for a successor to Dean Dipak Jain, who will step down September 1. I am confident that Kellogg will continue to flourish under Sunil’s leadership as interim dean while we conduct the search."

Prof Chopra’s research and teaching interests are in Operations Management, Supply Chain Management and network design. Besides several papers, he has co-authored the books Managing Business Process Flows and Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning, and Operation.

Both books are published by Prentice Hall and are used at several of the top business schools to teach Operations Management and Supply Chain Management respectively.

The Supply Chain Management book was awarded the best book of the year for 2002 by the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). He also has won several teaching awards at Kellogg.

"Kellogg has a strong commitment to excellence based on its culture of collaboration and innovation among its faculty, students, alumni and staff," Prof Chopra said. "I look forward to building on this vibrant environment where we partner with our students to develop global leaders who make contributions of lasting significance and faculty continue to do path breaking research and develop new pedagogy."

Prof Chopra has been Senior Associate Dean for Curriculum and Teaching since August 2006. In that position, he is responsible for planning the curriculum, teaching needs and other student activities for the Full-Time, Part-Time and Executive MBA programs. Prior to coming to Kellogg, Chopra was an Assistant Professor at the Stern School of Business Administration at New York University. He has a PhD in Operations Research from SUNY Stony Brook.

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Sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan passes away

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Ali Akbar KhanRenowned sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan has passed away in San Rafael in California after a prolonged illness, reports reaching here today said.

He was 87. He is survived by his wife, Mary, three sons and a daughter. Two of his sons, Alam Khan and Aashish are accomplished sarod players, and Alam Khan had only about three weeks played in a concert at San Rafael, California, to help raise funds for the Ali Akbar College Library Project. The whole family was there for the concert, except Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who was too ill to attend.

President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were among those who expressed grief at the passing away of the maestro.

Ms Patil said Ustad Ali Akbar Khan had left an indelible mark in the world of Indian classical music. "In his passing away, the nation has lost a versatile artiste who played the sarod with a magical touch," she said.

"Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was one of the most accomplished Indian classical musicians of his generation. A colossus who strode the world of Hindustani classical music for over five decades, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan worked towards making Indian music popular around the world," the Prime Minister said.

Dr. Singh expressed his sincere condolences to the wife and children of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and his innumerable admirers around the world.

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who had settled down in San Rafael, attracted attention amongst European audiences in a big way with his sarod solo on Media Traffic's 1967 single "Hole in My Shoe". He became the first Indian musician to record a long-playing album of Indian classical music in the United States and to play sarod on American television.

He was nominated for five Grammy Awards during his career and was also honoured by India with its second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, in 1989.

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was born to the legendary musician Baba Allauddin Khan and Madina Begum on April 14, 1922 in Shibpur village, Comilla, in what is now Bangladesh. He began learning vocal and instrumental music at an early age under his father. Though he was trained on several instruments, including drums, he finally decided to focus on the sarod and performed on stage for the first time in Allahabad at the age of 13. At the age of 22, he had become the court musician of the royal family of Jodhpur.

He set up the Ali Akbar College of Music in Kolkata in 1956 and founded another institution with the same name two years later at Berkeley in California. The college was moved after some time its present location in San Rafael. The college also has a branch in Basel, Switzerland.

Poor health forced Ustad Ali Akbar Khan to cut down on his concert tours for the past many years.

The late violinist Yehudi Menuhin described him as "an absolute genius...the greatest musician in the world." It was at Menuhin's request that Ustad Ali Akbar made his first visit to the US in 1955 and the two performed together at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan's family traced its "gharana" to Mian Tansen, the 16th century court musician of Mughal Emperor Akbar.

He had also composed music for films, including "Aandhiyan" by Chetan Anand (1953), "Householder" by Ivory-Merchant, "Khudita Pashan", Satyajit Ray's "Devi" and "Little Buddha" by Bernardo Bertolucci.

When Ustad Ali Akbar Khan's father was a centenarian, he told his son one day that he was very proud of him. "I am so pleased with your work in music that I will do something which is very rare. As your Guru and father, I am giving you a title, Swara Samrat (Emperor of Melody)."

Of all the awards he got in his long career, Khansahib, as he was popularly known, considered this blessing from his father as the most fortunate.

"If you practice for 10 years, you may begin to please yourself, after 20 years you may become a performer and please the audience, after 30 years you may please even your guru, but you must practice for many more years before you finally become a true artiste--then you may please even God," Khansahib had said once.

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Amal Allana re-appointed Chairperson of NSD

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The President has appointed eminent theatre personality Amal Allana as the Chairperson of the National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi, India's premier theatre training institute, for a second four-year term with immediate effect, an official statement said here today.

Ms Allana, 62, is herself a graduate of the NSD, having passed out in 1968, majoring in direction and winning the Girish Ghosh and Bharat Puruskar Awards.

She went on to study at the Berliner Ensemble, the National Theatre, Weimar and the State Theatre at Dresden.

On her return to India, she set up "The Workshop", a theatre group, along with her husband, Dr Nissar Allana, a stage and lighting designer.

In 1975, Ms Allana was awarded the Homi Bhabha Fellowship for her research in traditional Indian and Japanese theatre. As part of that project, she visited Japan and studied the Noh and Kabuki theatre.

In 1977, she became the head of the Department of Indian Theatre at the Punjab University, Chandigarh.

The following year, she set up "Studio 1" with her husband and the group came up with several memorable productions, including Aadhe Adhure, Hayavadana, Khamosh Adalat Jari Hai, Ashadh Ka Ek Din, King Lear and Begum Barve.

In 1990, she received a Ford Foundation Fellowship to research the contemporary theatre movement. Ms Allana has done over 40 productions so far and also produced some television shows. She has won many awards, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for Direction in 1998.

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G N Bajpai joins Accelerator Group as Senior Advisor

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The Michigan, United States, based Accelerator Group today announced that former Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman G N Bajpai had joined its advisory board and would actively guide its strategic alliance advisory and health practice areas.

Mr Bajpai had served as Chairman of SEBI from 2002 to 2005. Before that, he was Chairman of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) from September, 2000 to February, 2002. He has also served on the boards of many organisations in India and abroad.

"Mr. Bajpai is an eminent leader and champion of the Indian financial service and insurance industries and has guided several major institutions in India under his impactful leadership," a press release from the Accelerator Group said.

Commenting on Mr. Bajpai’s becoming a Senior Advisor of Accelerator Group’s advisory board, its Managing Director Seema Chaturvedi said, "This is a tremendous honour for our organization to have the guidance from such a luminary. We are extremely excited to have an opportunity to work with Mr. Bajpai to create impactful positive changes in our organization and the industries we serve."

Mr. Bajpai commented that he was "impressed with the entrepreneurial vision, tenacity and energy of Accelerator’s team" and said that he looked forward to creating significant value with the company.

Accelerator Group LLC is an investment banking advisory services firm focused on providing services in the areas of business combinations, mergers and acquisitions and raising growth capital. It also provides customized knowledge services in areas of business intelligence and market research. The firm specializes in the healthcare & pharmaceutical, manufacturing (automotive & aerospace) and food & agriculture industries.

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Malay Mishra concurrently accredited as envoy to Montserrat

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Mr Malay Mishra, presently India's High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, has been concurrently accredited as the country's next High Commissioner to Montserrat.

A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said the appointment would be with residence in Port of Spain.

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Rajeev Motwani, computer scientist at Stanford, dies at 47

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Photo courtesy: Stanford University
Rajeev Motwani, a professor of computer science at Stanford University who was widely respected for his academic research and for his help to start-ups in Silicon Valley, including Google, died last Friday.

He was 47. He is survived by his wife, Asha Jadeja and two daughters, Naitri and Anya.

The funeral will be a private ceremony, but a public memorial service will be held at a later date, a news release on the Stanford University website said.

According to it, Motwani was found in his backyard swimming pool on Friday, where he had apparently drowned. It quoted friends as saying that he did not know how to swim.

Motwani was born in Jammu and grew up in New Delhi. He earned a B.Tech. degree in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and then got his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988.

As a professor at Stanford, he also served as the director of graduate studies for the Computer Science Department and founded the Mining Data at Stanford project (MIDAS).

According to the release, Motwani made fundamental contributions to the foundations of computer science, search and information retrieval, streaming databases and data mining, and robotics. In these areas, he considered questions as philosophical as what makes problems inherently intractable, and as practical as finding similar images.

He wrote two books -- Randomized Algorithms published by Cambridge University Press in 1995, and an undergraduate textbook published by Addison-Wesley in 2001.

Motwani received the Godel Prize, the Okawa Foundation Research Award, the Arthur Sloan Research Fellowship, the National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Kanpur, the Bergmann Memorial Award from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, and an IBM Faculty Award.

He served on various industry boards and advisory boards, including Adchemy, Anchor Intelligence, BASES, Baynote, DotEdu Ventures, Flarion, Google, Mimosa Systems, Neopath Networks, Revenue Science, Stanford Student Enterprises Ventures, and Vuclip. He was a charter member of TIE (The IndUS Entrepreneurs) and on the board of BASES (Business Association of Stanford Engineering Students).

Google co-founder and Stanford graduate Sergey Brin paid glowing tributes to Motwani on his blog after hearing of his death:

"It is with great sadness that I write about the passing of my teacher and good friend Professor Rajeev Motwani. But I would rather not dwell on the sorrow of his death and instead celebrate his life.

"Officially, Rajeev was not my advisor, and yet he played just as big a role in my research, education, and professional development. In addition to being a brilliant computer scientist, Rajeev was a very kind and amicable person and his door was always open. No matter what was going on with my life or work, I could always stop by his office for an interesting conversation and a friendly smile.

"When my interest turned to data mining, Rajeev helped to coordinate a regular meeting group on the subject. Even though I was just one of hundreds of graduate students in the department, he always made the time and effort to help. Later, when Larry and I began to work together on the research that would lead to Google, Rajeev was there to support us and guide us through challenges, both technical and organizational.

"Eventually, as Google emerged from Stanford, Rajeev remained a friend and advisor as he has with many people and startups since. Of all the faculty at Stanford, it is with Rajeev that I have stayed the closest and I will miss him dearly. Yet his legacy and personality lives on in the students, projects, and companies he has touched. Today, whenever you use a piece of technology, there is a good chance a little bit of Rajeev Motwani is behind it."

The release said Motwani's work has had a wide impact on algorithms, the sets of instructions that computers follow to solve a specific problem, such as finding the best results to a search on Google.

Some databases—the entire content of the Internet would be an example—are so large that they become too unwieldy to search effectively. But Motwani realized that an algorithm that cleverly searched only a random subset of the data could get the job done.

Thus he became famous for his "randomized algorithms." But he was equally known in Silicon Valley as a savvy angel investor who helped startups across Silicon Valley.

"It's hard to know what to say when something this unexpected and tragic occurs," said Jim Plummer, the dean of the School of Engineering. "Rajeev was a major contributor to our Computer Science Department. His teaching, his research, and his connections to Silicon Valley were all important, but he will be remembered most for the personal friendships he had with students, faculty colleagues and staff in the department. We will all miss him tremendously."

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Valluri is president of Ingersoll Rand India operations

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Ingersoll Rand, the $ 13 billion industrial technology company, has appointed Mr Venkatesh Valluri as the President of its Indian operations.

Mr. Valluri will represent the India management board as its Chairman. He will also join the board of its publicly traded company, Ingersoll Rand India Limited as the non-executive chairman, the company said in a statement.

Mr. Venkatesh Valluri was associated with the measurement technology leader Agilent Technologies as its President & Country Manager for over five years where he successfully established a strong foot print for its business operations. Prior to Agilent, he held various leadership roles at GE (General Electric) in India and overseas.

Mr. Herb Henkel, Chairman, Ingersoll Rand, said, " We are pleased to have Venkatesh Valluri as President of Ingersoll Rand International India Limited. In this critical role, Venkatesh will lead the development of the vision and strategic direction of Ingersoll Rand in India. He also will be accountable for driving the growth and profitability of the region."

Mr. Valluri added, "The positive impact these technologies can have in the growth of the core Infrastructure capabilities of the country can be significant".

Mr. Valluri holds a B.Tech degree in Electronics and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA).

Ingersoll Rand has manufacturing operations in the North and the Western parts of India and a global Design and Development center at Bangalore. It has recently acquired Trane Systems. It provides products, services and solutions to enhance the quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings, transport and protect food and perishables, secure homes and commercial properties, and enhance industrial productivity and efficiency.

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Dipak Jain to step down Sep 1 as Kellogg School dean

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Dipak JainProfessor Dipak C Jain, who has been dean of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management for the last eight years, has decided to step down on September 1 and return to the school's faculty.

The school's Provost, Mr Daniel I. Linzer, announced that Prof Jain would resign, effective September 1 and return to the Kellogg faculty following a year’s leave of absence.

An interim dean will be appointed soon and Northwestern will begin a national search for Prof Jain’s replacement, Mr Linzer was quoted as saying in an announcement on the school's website.

"I have been both honored and fortunate to have been able to serve as dean of this wonderful school," Prof Jain said. "Over the past eight years as dean, it has been my pleasure to work alongside wonderful colleagues whose dedication to Kellogg has made my job a joy. I truly appreciate the support, guidance and assistance that I have received from Kellogg faculty, staff, students and alumni during my tenure as dean."

Mr Jain, 51, took over as Kellogg's dean eight years ago after five years as an associate dean. He joined Kellogg in 1986 as an assistant professor. Since 1994 he has been the Sandy and Morton Goldman Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and professor of marketing.

A prolific scholar who is also a recognized researcher and teacher, Prof Jain has written numerous articles in leading academic journals. He also has served as an editor for the marketing area of Management Science and the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics and on the editorial board of the Journal of Marketing Research, the statement said.

"President Bienen and I appreciate Dipak’s leadership of Kellogg and his contributions to the University," Linzer said. "Under his guidance and that of former Dean Donald Jacobs, Kellogg has become the pre-eminent business school in the country. As we move through this transition period and select a new dean, I’m confident that it will continue to hold that position."

Kellogg has acquired the reputation of being one of the best graduate business programmes in the world and attracts some of the brightest students from around the globe. Apart from its flagship MBA programme, the school also offers executive education programmes.

In his letter to students announcing his decision to step down, Prof Jain said he felt it was best for him now to devote more time to his family and his scholarly pursuits. "To that end, I will rejoin the Marketing Department full time and, more broadly, continue to explore how I can contribute enduring value to management education," he said.

"As I reflect on my tenure — the equivalent of two presidential terms — I am pleased to say that my colleagues and I have strengthened the global Kellogg brand and expanded the Kellogg Alumni Network, in addition to instituting many academic innovations and enhancements," he said.

"The Kellogg brand is unique and sharp, as indicated by the top quality of our student applicants and the recruiters who look to us for the best graduates. In fact, in 2008 nearly 250 widely varied companies recruited on campus here — a testament to our school’s academic diversity. This balanced strength across all areas has become a Kellogg hallmark and is an attractive quality that has helped our faculty recruitment and retention, both of which have been outstanding. Others continue to recognize our achievements, including mainstream rankings that consistently place Kellogg among the world’s top management schools.

"Also, in terms of our global brand reputation, our recent Centennial celebrations held around the world have shown that our efforts to promote a new kind of leadership education are being well received. Our graduates and others say that our mission of creating leaders who are successful and who make significant contributions to the world is one that they find very appealing. I know this enthusiasm is evident inside Kellogg, too, among you and your student peers, who display a real passion for putting your talents to work in meaningful ways," Prof Jain added.

Prof Jain earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics in 1976 and his master's degree in mathematical statistics in 1978 from the Guwahati University in India. He taught at Guwahati for five years before pursuing his Ph.D. in marketing at the University of Texas, Dallas. Prof Jain has also been a visiting professor of marketing since 1989 at the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

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Lt Gen K R Rao takes over as DG Artillery

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Lieutenant General K R Rao has assumed the office of Director General Artillery in the Indian Army, an official statement said today.

Lt Gen Rao was commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery on December 20, 1970. He is an alumnus of Sainik School, Korukonda and National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla. He has qualified on the prestigious Long Gunnery Staff Course, Defence Services Staff Course, Long Defence Management Course and attended the National Defence College. He has also completed his post graduation in M.Sc (Defence Studies) from Annamalai University and Masters in Management Science from Osmania University.

In a career spanning over 38 years, he has held many coveted command and staff assignments. He commanded an Artillery Regiment in the J&K, an Armoured Artillery Brigade and an Artillery Division. In staff assignments, he was Staff Captain of an Artillery Brigade, Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade, Colonel General Staff of a Mountain Division, Deputy Commander of an Infantry Brigade, Deputy Military Secretary in the Army Headquarters, Military Assistant to the Vice Chief of Army Staff, Additional Director General of Personnel Services. On instructional front, he was Colonel Instructor in the Tactical Wing of School of Artillery. Prior to his present position, Lt Gen Rao was Director General Manpower Planning and Personnel.

He carries with him vast experience of all terrains of the Indian Army from Siachen to the deserts. He has the rare distinction of having served in all the Strike Corps of the Indian Army as Deputy Commander of an Infantry Brigade, Commander Artillery Brigade and General Officer Commanding, Artillery Division. He has also taken part in the 1971 War at Kargil and in Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, the statement added.

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Lt Gen Lamba is Chief of Staff, HQ Army Training Command

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Lieutenant General Arvinder Singh Lamba, General Officer Commanding, Sudarshan Chakra Corps, has taken over as Chief of Staff, HQ Army Training Command.

The General was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery in June 1971 and is a recipient of the coveted Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.

He has vast experience of conventional as well as counter-insurgency operations, having participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan war and served on almost all fronts including Nagaland and Manipur and in Sri Lanka with the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF).

The General is a graduate of Defence Services Staff Course, Higher Command and RCDS at the Royal College of Defence Studies in United Kingdom. He has held numerous important appointments at all levels including in the Army Headquarters.

The General Officer has been an instructor at important Army Training Establishments such as the Indian Military Academy and the Defence Services Staff College.

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Air Marshal Browne is new AOC-in-C, Western Air Command

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Air Marshal N A K Browne took over as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), Western Air Command, the largest and the senior-most operational command of the Indian Air Force (IAF) today.

Commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF June 24, 1972, he has varied operational experience and has flown aircraft that include Hunter, all variants of MiG-21s, Jaguar and SU-30MKI.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he is a Fighter Combat Leader who has also served as an instructor at the Tactics and Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) and Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington.

Air Marshal Browne has trained with the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom on Jaguar aircraft and commanded a Jaguar Squadron subsequently. A graduate of Air Command and Staff College, USA, he has held many appointments that include Joint Director at Air War Strategy Cell at Air Headquarters, Chief Operations Officer and Air Officer Commanding of the SU-30 Base, Air-I at Western Air Command and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air Headquarters. He was also responsible for establishing the Indian Defence Wing in Tel Aviv, Israel in April 1997 where he served as the Defence Attaché till July 2000.

The Air Officer was promoted to the rank of Air Marshal in March, 2007, and was appointed the Deputy Chief of Air Staff responsible for the IAF’s major modernization programmes.

Air Marshal Browne is a recipient of the Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM) and the Vayu Sena Medal (VM).

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Lt Gen Naresh Kumar Parmar takes over as DGAFMS

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Lt Gen Naresh Kumar Parmar today assumed the office of Director General Armed Forces Medical Services.

A graduate of the MGM Medical College, Indore, he was commissioned into the Army Medical Corps on July 11, 1970. He did his Diploma in Hospital Administration from Pune University in 1980 and Masters in Hospital Administration from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in 1989.

He has held important appointments of Training Officer at Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), Pune, Commanding Officer of Field Hospital at Hunder (Siachen), Professor & Head of Department of Hospital Administration, AFMC Pune, Deputy Director General Medical Services (Personnel) in Directorate General of Medical Services (Army), Commandant, Command Hospital (Eastern Command), Major General (Medical), Eastern Command, Additional Director General Armed Forces Medical Services, New Delhi And DGMS(Army).

An alumni of the National Defence College, he was awarded the Vir Chakra for act of gallantry during the India-Pakistan War of 1971. He was awarded the Vishist Seva Medal in 2004 and the Ati Vishist Seva Medal in 2008, an official statement added.

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PM condoles death of Kamala Das

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed grief over the demise of well-known writer and poetess Kamala Das, who passed away in a hospital in Pune, Maharashtra, this morning.

In his condolence message, Dr Singh said Kamala Das's poems focussing on womanhood and feminism gained her recognition as one of the most noted of modern Indian poets.

Her books of poems including ‘The Descendants’ and ‘Only the Soul Knows How to Sing’ were widely read and admired for their human sensitivity. Ms. Das's achievements extended well beyond her verses of poetry. She made a mark in painting, fiction, and as a syndicated columnist. Her columns touched on everything from women's issues and child care to politics, the Prime Minister said.

Dr. Singh expressed his sincere condolences to the bereaved members of Ms.Kamala Das’s family and thousands of her readers and admirers.

The 75-year-old writer, also known as Madhavikutty, had been admitted to the hospital in mid-April for treatment of a respiratory ailment. She is survived by three sons, one of whom is well-known journalist M D Nalapat.

Kamala Das, who wrote in both Malayalam and English and won many literary awards, had attracted controversy throughout with her unorthodox views as well as her frank writings on matters related to sexuality. She embraced Islam about a decade ago and took the name Kamala Suraiya. She made an unsuccessful attempt to get elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984. Her autobiography, My Story, published when she was 42 was extremely popular and was translated into several languages.

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Surgeon Vice Admiral VK Saxena to be DGMS (Navy)

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Surgeon Vice Admiral Vinod Kumar Saxena will take over as the Director General Medical Services (Navy) here tomorrow, an official statement said today.

He graduated from the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Ajmer and did M.S. (Gen Surgery) from Mumbai University. He was commissioned into the Army Medical Corps in the rank of Surgeon Sub Lieutenant, on October 28, 1971. He subsequently completed his super specialisation in uro surgery and is today, a renowned uro surgeon with some 250 renal transplants to his credit.

Before taking over the reins of the Medical Branch of the Indian Navy, the Admiral has served as the Director General Hospital Services (Armed Forces) and Director General (Org & Pers) in the Office of the Director General of the Armed Forces Medical Services. He has Commanded INHS Asvini, the premier hospital of the Indian Navy. He was awarded Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) in 1997 and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) in 2007 for distinguished service of an exceptional order.

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Air Chief Marshal Naik takes over as new Chief of Air Staff

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Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik today took over as the 19th Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

He succeeded Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major, whose tenure ended today.
The Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik PVSM VSM ADC took over as the new ‘Chief of the Air Staff ‘(CAS) from Air Chief Marshal FH Major PVSM AVSM SC VM ADC, today.
The Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik PVSM VSM ADC took over as the new ‘Chief of the Air Staff ‘(CAS) from Air Chief Marshal FH Major PVSM AVSM SC VM ADC, today.

The "change of guard" ceremony held in Air Headquarters was attended by all the Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief of the seven Commands of the IAF and Principal Staff Officers at the Air Headquarters.

The new Air Chief reviewed a ceremonial guard of honour presented to him by a contingent of air warriors in the foyer of the Vayu Bhavan before assuming charge. Later he addressed all the Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief.

Meanwhile the outgoing Air Chief, ACM Major was also given a ceremonial send-off from Air Headquarters. Air Warriors at the IAF Headquarters buildings at RK Puram and Vayu Bhavan in New Delhi lined-up in the corridors of their respective buildings and bade him good-bye even as he greeted each one of them before bidding adieu.

ACM Naik was born on July 22, 1949 at Nagpur and was commissioned into the IAF on June 21, 1969 as a fighter pilot. He is an alumnus of Sainik School, Satara and the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla in Maharashtra.

During his long and distinguished service, spanning nearly 40 years, he has served in a variety of "Command Staff" and "Instructional" appointments. He has over 3000 hours of flying to his credit. The Air Chief also took part in the 1971 war. Before taking over as CAS, he was the IAF Vice-Chief. He has also served as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Allahabad-based, Central Air Command.

Besides being a fellow of the National Defence College, New Delhi, College of Defence Management, Secunderabad and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he has attended a variety of courses like Flying Instructor’s Course, Jungle & Snow Survival Course and Junior Commander’s Course.

ACM Naik has been decorated with Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM) and Vishist Seva Medal (VSM). He is also one of the Honorary Aides-de-Camp (ADC) to the President, who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of India.

Tomorrow, Air Marshal P K Barbora, who handed over the command of the largest operational command of the IAF today, will take over as the Vice Chief of Air Staff.

Air Marshal Barbora had held the command of Eastern Air Command at Shillong before assuming charge as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command on January 1 last year.

With a focus on sharpening the operational potential ofthe command, his tenure as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of this frontline command had been an eventful one with many achievements to boast of, such as reactivation of Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs), increased night operations, increased interaction with affiliated Army Commands of North, Western and South Western Army and achievement of zero flying accident rate for the year 2008-09, a Defence Ministry statement added.

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