9788189534141: A Sailors Story

Vice Admiral Nilakanta Krishnan (1919 to 1982) was one of the most decorated officers in the Indian Armed Forces. After 40 years of distinguished service in the Indian Navy, 17 medals adorned his broad shoulders, including the Padma Bhushan and the Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry in World War II. Known as the Sailors Admiral, his dedication to his beloved Navy was surpassed only by his love for his Country. Flamboyant, charismatic, and a dynamic leader of men, this is his story, one that is inextricably linked to the story of India and India s Navy. In his own words, he tells of his experiences spanning some of India s most tumultuous times, from pre-independence to post independent modern India, including his part in building India s Navy and culminating in his pivotal role in one of India s greatest military triumphs, the 1971 war resulting in the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan. His life was a fascinating one, which most people would only dream about. He rubbed shoulders with royalty, presidents, prime ministers, politicians, military brass, war heroes, extraordinary and ordinary people in the course of his life. Every encounter has a fascinating tale behind it, from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, V.V. Giri, Ace fighter pilot Guy Gibson of second world war dambusters fame, Queen Elizabeth the Queen mother, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding of Battle of Britain fame, Russian Grand Admiral Gorshkov, to even a mafia Don and his moll in downtown San Francisco. Each story is part of the tapestry that made his life s story so interesting. Sit back and enjoy the voyage of the life of a great Indian military hero and patriot, who often said - If you cut open my chest, embedded in my heart you will see four letters in bold: NAVY.

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About the Author:

Vice Admiral Nilakanta Krishnan joined the DUFFERIN in 1935, from where he was selected for the Navy in 1938. He received his initial training with the Royal Navy and on the outbreak of the Second World War; he was on active duty in ships of the Royal Navy on patrol in the Arctic Ocean and in the North Sea area. He took part in the Norwegian campaign. He also saw active service in the Indian Ocean area and received the Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry in capturing an enemy ship during the Persian Gulf operations in 1942. While still a Lieutenant Commander, he served as Director of Naval Plans at Naval Headquarters between 1948-50 and during that period piloted the first ten year plan for development of the Navy. He was the first Indian Naval officer to undergo the course at the Joint Services Staff College in the United Kingdom in 1951. He held several commands afloat. He suc-cessfully commanded ocean minesweepers, frigates, including the training ship INS TIR, and in 1958 he took over command of the cruiser, INS DELHI. Later, while in command of the shore training establishment INS SHIVAJI at Lonavla, he received orders to take over command of INS DELHI a second time with instructions to get her ready for operations for the liberation of Goa. With commendable zeal and characteristic drive, he got the ship, which was undergoing a major refit, ready for operations in record time. He led her into battle, helping to bring about the surrender of all Portuguese forces, ending 400 years of colonial rule. He commanded the Aircraft Carrier INS VIKRANT with distinction from April, 1963 to December, 1964. He held several important staff appointments including that of Director of personal Services at Naval Headquarters and Deputy Secretary (Military) to the Cabinet and Secretary of the Defence Minister's Committee with great success. In 1965, he was selected to undergo the Imperial Defence College Course in London following which he served as Naval Adviser to the Indian High Commission in London and displayed the same outstanding ability that he had shown in his other Naval appointments. He was appointed Vice - Chief of the Naval Staff in December, 1967. The intricate problems posed in the wake of the acquisition of ships from abroad, building of the modern frigates in India and the creation of repair, training and operational control facilities were tackled by him with characteristic `zeal, foresight and ability. In 1970 he was appointed as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, and was responsible for preparing the Command for battle in the event of war, including setting up and inaugurating the missile boat base INS TRATA .In March 1971, he was asked to take over as Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command in Vishakapatnam. He was responsible for the conduct of all sea and seaborne air operations throughout the eastern theatre of war during the ensuing Indo-Pakistani war of December 1971, resulting in the liberation and creation of Bangla Desh, and surrender of all Pakistani forces on the Eastern front, for which he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award conferred for distinguished service to the Nation in any field. On retirement from the Navy in 1976, he continued serving as the first Chairman and managing director of Cochin shipyard, Asia s first greenfield shipbuilding yard built from the ground up, in Ernakulum, Kerala, retiring in 1979.In 1980 he wrote No way But Surrender - An Account of the Indo-Pakistani War in the Bay of Bengal. He passed away in January, 1982.

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