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Ex-Naval chief Sureesh Mehta is new envoy to New Zealand


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NEW DELHI (PTI): In a surprise development, India has named former Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta as its new High Commissioner to New Zealand.

The appointment on Tuesday of 62-year-old Mehta comes within six weeks of his retirement from the Navy.

He is possibly the first retired Naval Chief to be appointed as an Indian envoy.

Mehta is expected to take up his assignment shortly, External Affairs Ministry said.

Earlier, the other Defence chiefs who served as Indian envoys were Field Marshal K M Cariappa and Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. Cariappa was High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand in the 1950s while Arjan Singh had served as envoy to Switzerland.

Mehta served as Chief of the Indian Navy from 31 October 2006 until 31 August 2009.

The first service chief from India's armed forces to be born post the Indian Independence, Mehta joined the Fleet Air Arm of the Indian Navy, where he flew the Hawker Sea Hawk off the aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant.

He served as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) from 30 September 2005 till his appointment as the Naval Chief.

He was appointed as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) on 28 September 2007.

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