Former Indian Navy chief Admiral S.M. Nanda dead (Second Lead)

May 12th, 2009 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) Former Indian Navy chief Admiral Sardarilal Mathradas Nanda, who is best remembered for staging the daring raid on Karachi during the 1971 India-Pakistan war, died here late Monday night after a prolonged illness. He was 94.
Nanda is survived by his wife and two sons.

Nanda’s body was consigned to the flames at the Brar Square crematorium with full military honours Tuesday evening. The funeral was attended by top brass of the Indian Armed forces. However, defence ministry officials were conspicuous by their absence.

Nanda was a recipient of the Padma Vibushan, India second highest civilian honour. He had led the Indian Navy with distinction during the 1971 war, with the Karachi raid still being studied in detail at many a military establishment across the country.

The raid had destroyed the oil tankers at Karachi, depriving the Pakistani war machine of much needed fuel. The Pakistan Navy was humbled and the Indian Navy had complete control over the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

Nanda’s death marks the end of an era. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who led the Indian Army during the 1971 operations, died last year, also aged 94. The Indian Air Force chief during the war, Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal, had died in 1984, aged 67.

Condoling Nanda’s demise, Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said: “In his passing, the nation has lost a hero and a visionary leader, who contributed significantly to the growth of the modern Indian Navy. He will always be remembered in the most glowing terms for his leadership of the Indian Navy during the Indo-Pak Conflict of 1971, in which the Indian Navy carved its name in golden letters in the annals of history by its sterling offensive actions.”

“Admiral Nanda remained in constant touch with the navy even in his twilight years and continued to be a source of inspiration and support to the naval community. His demise is a great loss to the navy and the nation,” Mehta said.

Born in Karachi in 1915, Nanda was commissioned into the then Royal Indian Navy in 1941. He assumed the charge as the sixth Indian Navy chief in 1970 and retired in 1973 after over 31 years of distinguished service.

Since Independence in 1947, Nanda held a number of important appointments both ashore and afloat that gave him varied experience. In 1948, he was posted on the Indian Navy’s first cruiser INS Delhi, which was then being refitted in Britain. He later commanded the destroyer INS Ranjit, as well as a frigate squadron.

Nanda was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) for distinguished service in 1966.

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