Jal Cursetji

Jal Cursetji

Born (1919-05-20)May 20, 1919
Jabalpur, Jubbulpore Division, Central Provinces, British Raj (now Madhya Pradesh, India)[1]
Died January 29, 1991(1991-01-29) (aged 71)
Allegiance  British India (1938-1947)
 India (from 1947)
Service/branch  Royal Indian Navy (1938-1947)
Indian Navy (1947-1979)
Years of service 1938–1979
Rank IN Admiral Shoulder curl.png Indian Admiral.jpg Admiral
Commands held Chief of the Naval Staff
FOC-IN-C, Western Naval Command
INS Vikrant (R11)
HMIS Bombay (J249)
Battles/wars World War II
Liberation of Goa
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Awards Param Vishisht Seva Medal
Legion of Merit[2]

Admiral Jal Cursetji, PVSM (20 May 1919 – 29 January 1991) was an Indian Navy admiral who served as the 10th Chief of the Naval Staff from March 1, 1976 until February 28, 1979.[3] Cursetji's prior commands included those as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-IN-C) of the Western Naval Command and the commanding officer of INS Vikrant (R11) and HMIS Bombay (J249). He also served as the Naval Attache to the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and as the Chief Hydrographer of the Indian Navy.

Early life

Cursetji was born in 1919 in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh in a Parsi family. He attended the St. Aloysius Senior Secondary School in Jabalpur.

Naval career

Cursetji joined the Royal Indian Navy Volunteer Reserve as a cadet in January 1938. He was commissioned as an acting sub-lieutenant in the RIN on 1 April 1940, with confirmation as a sub-lieutenant on 1 September 1940 (dating from 1 April).[4][5] He qualified as a Hydrography Specialist in the United Kingdom, and was promoted to lieutenant on 1 October 1941.[6]

During World War II, Cursetji served in the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. In 1944, he took over as the Commanding Officer of HMIS Bombay (J249).

After the independence of India, he opted to join the Indian Navy. He was the senior most Indian officer in the Hydrographic Survey branch, and took part in the coastal surveys of Burma, Malaya and Indonesia. He served as the Surveyor-in-Charge of the Marine Survey of India between 1950 and 1953. On 15 November 1955, he was promoted to acting captain and deputed as the Chief Hydrographer to the Government of India.[7][8]

In 1957, he took command of the 11th Destroyer Squadron, and was promoted substantive captain on 31 December.[9] Between 1961 and 1965, Cursetji served as the Naval Attache in Washington, D.C. and Ottawa. Between 1966 and 1967, he was the Commanding Officer of INS Vikrant (R11).

He was promoted to acting Rear Admiral and took over as the Chief of Personnel at Naval Headquarters in December 1967. On 20 February 1970, he was promoted to acting Vice Admiral and took over as the Vice Chief of Naval Staff.[10] On 27 February 1973, he took over as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-IN-C) of the Western Naval Command, with promotion to substantive vice-admiral on 1 March.[11]

Admiral Cursetji became the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) of the Indian Navy on 1 March 1976. He retired on 28 February 1979[1][3] and died in January 1991.[12]


Cursetji was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal in January 1971. He was the first Indian Navy CNS to be awarded the Legion of Merit in 1978.[2]

Dates of rank

Insignia Rank Component Date of rank
British Royal Navy OF-1b.svg Sub-lieutenant Royal Indian Navy 1 April 1940[4]
British Royal Navy OF-2.svg Lieutenant Royal Indian Navy 1 October 1941[6]
British Royal Navy OF-3.svg Lieutenant-Commander Royal Indian Navy 1 October 1949 (substantive)[13]
08-Indian Navy-LCDR.svg Lieutenant Commander Indian Navy 26 January 1950 (recommissioning)[14][15]
09-Indian Navy-CDR.svg Commander Indian Navy 30 June 1952.[16]
10-Indian Navy-CAPT.svg Captain Indian Navy 15 November 1955 (acting)[7]
31 December 1957 (substantive)[9]
12-Indian Navy-RADM.svg Rear Admiral Indian Navy 18 December 1967 (acting; paid from 1 March 1968)[17]
22 November 1969 (substantive)[18]
13-Indian Navy-VADM.svg Vice-Admiral Indian Navy 20 February 1970 (acting)[10]
1 March 1973 (substantive)[11]
14-Indian Navy-ADM.svg Admiral Indian Navy
1 March 1976


Military offices
Preceded by
Sourendra Nath Kohli
Chief of the Naval Staff
Succeeded by
Ronald Lynsdale Pereira

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