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Vice Admiral Nilakanta Krishnan, PVSM, DSC (1919 – January 1982) was an Indian Navy Admiral. He was the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. He is credited with using a very innovative strategy, while commanding the Eastern Navy which had the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, in the Bay of Bengal. He is believed to have tricked the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi, which was on a search and destroy mission, into entering Visakhapatnam; where it was eliminated.


Nilakanta Krishnan

Image of Vice Admiral Nilakanta Krishnan from cover of biography
Born1919
DiedJanuary 1982
Allegiance British India
 India
Service/branch Royal Indian Navy
 Indian Navy
Years of service1938-1947, 1947-1976
Rank13-Indian Navy-VADM.svg Vice Admiral
Commands heldEastern Naval Command
INS Vikrant
INS Delhi
AwardsPadma Bhushan[1]
Lt Gen A A K Niazi signing the Instrument of Surrender under the gaze of Lt Gen J S Aurora. Standing immediately behind (L-R) Vice Admiral Krishnan, Air Marshal Dewan, Lt. Gen Sagat Singh and Maj Gen JFR Jacob.

Early lifeEdit

Krishnan was the youngest son of Rao Bahadur Mahadeva Nilakanta Ayyar, an Executive Engineer.[2][3] While his eldest brother, Nilakanta Mahadeva Ayyar pursued his career in the Indian Civil Service, Krishnan joined the Royal Indian Navy.Krishnan’s other brothers included Nilakanta Ganapathy Iyer and Nilakanta Anjaneya Subramanian. NA Subramanian was a Constitutional lawyer, professor at Madras Law College and author of the book Case Law on the Indian Constitution.

Naval careerEdit

Krishnan was appointed a Sub-Lieutenant of the Royal Indian Navy on 1 September 1940,[4] with promotion to lieutenant on 16 August 1941.[5] In 1942, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for "courage, enterprise and devotion to duty in operations in the Persian Gulf".[6] He had been serving on HMIS Investigator at that time,[7]

After India's independence in 1947, by which time he was an acting Lieutenant Commander, Krishnan continued in the new Indian Navy. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander on 16 August 1949,[8] and was appointed Director of Naval Plans on 19 December with the acting rank of Commander.[9] He was promoted to substantive Commander on 30 June 1952.[10] On 15 July 1955, Krishnan was appointed Director of Personnel Services, with the acting rank of Captain.[11] He was appointed a deputy military secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat on 9 January 1956,[12] and was promoted to the substantive rank of captain on 31 December 1957.[13] On 18 March 1958, he was promoted to Commodore 2nd Class,[14] subsequently reverting to his permanent rank of Captain but again being promoted to Commodore on 1 January 1966.[15]

On 12 December 1967, Krishnan was appointed Vice Chief of the Naval Staff (VCNS) with the acting rank of Rear-Admiral (paid from 18 February 1968).[16] He was promoted to substantive Rear-Admiral on 16 June 1968.[17] On 26 March 1969, the post of VCNS was upgraded to the rank of vice-admiral, with Krishnan being promoted to the acting rank from the same date.[18] He was promoted to substantive vice-admiral on 1 March 1970.[19] His command during the 1971 war led the crew of Vikrant to earn two Mahavir Chakras and 12 Vir Chakras. Under his leadership in 1971, the aircraft carrier's Sea Hawks struck shipping in the Chittagong and Cox's Bazar harbours, sinking or incapacitating most ships in harbor. Admiral Krishnan retired from the Indian Navy on 29 February 1976.[20]

Krishnan wrote an autobiography, A Sailor' Story, which was edited by Arjun Krishnan.[21] He had also written No way But Surrender — An Account of the Indo-Pakistani War in the Bay of Bengal.[22]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  2. ^ Doyle, Patrick (1905). Indian engineering, Volume 37. Calcutta. pp. xii.
  3. ^ Krishnan, N. A Sailor's story. Bangalore: Punya Pub. ISBN 9788189534141.
  4. ^ "No. 34960". The London Gazette. 4 October 1940. p. 5841.
  5. ^ "The Royal Indian Navy". The Navy List: June 1944. HM Government, UK. 1944. p. 1965.
  6. ^ "No. 35481". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 March 1942. p. 1105.
  7. ^ Cannon, Peter (2011). "HMAS Yarra and Operation Marmalade". Australian Maritime Issues 2010: SPC-A Annual (PDF). Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs, No. 35. Sea Power Centre, Australian Department of Defence. p. 96. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
  8. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 27 August 1949. p. 1171.
  9. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 31 December 1949. p. 1807.
  10. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 19 July 1952. p. 155.
  11. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 24 March 1956. p. 60.
  12. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 9 June 1956. p. 117.
  13. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 29 November 1958. p. 268.
  14. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 28 June 1958. p. 147.
  15. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 25 June 1966. p. 382.
  16. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 13 April 1968. p. 316.
  17. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 22 March 1969. p. 259.
  18. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 3 May 1969. p. 440.
  19. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 4 December 1971. p. 440.
  20. ^ "Part I-Section 4: Ministry of Defence (Navy Branch)". The Gazette of India. 5 July 1975. p. 871.
  21. ^ Krishnan, Nilakanta (2011). Krishnan, Arjun (ed.). A Sailor's Story. Punya Publishing. ISBN 978-8189534134.
  22. ^ Krishnan, Nilakanta (1980). No way But Surrender — An Account of the Indo-Pakistani War in the Bay of Bengal. Vikas. ISBN 0706910184.