NEW DELHI– General K.V. Krishna Rao, the 14th Chief of Army Staff, passed away on Saturday in the Army Hospital (Research and Referral) here, an official statement said. He was 92.
Gen. Krishna Rao was commissioned in the Indian Army on August 9, 1942 at the height of World War-II and served in Burma (now Myanmar), the North West Frontier and Baluchistan during the conflict.
During the extensive Punjab disturbances in 1947 following the partition of the sub-continent, he served in both the eastern and western parts of the state and also saw action in the 1947-48 war against Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
He was a founder-instructor of the National Defence Academy during 1949-51.
He comanding a brigade in Ladakh during 1965-66, an infantry division in the Jammu region during 1969-70 and a mountain division engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Nagaland and Manipur during 1970-72.
During this period, the division also saw action in the 1971 India-Pakistan war in the eastern theatre and was instrumental in capture of the Sylhet area of what was tben East Pakistan and liberation what is now northeastern Bangladesh.
He was awarded the Param Vishist Seva Medal for displaying outstanding leadership, courage, determination and drive during the war.
General Krishna Rao commanded a corps in the Jammu region from 1974-78 and during 1975-76, also headed an expert committee on re-organisation and modernisation for the country’s future defence.
He later served as the deputy chief of army staff during 1978-79 and on promtion, went on to head the Western Command during 1979-81.
General Krishna Rao was appointed the army chief in June 1981 and served till July 1983. He was also Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, the highest appointment in the armed forces from March 1982 to July 1983.
From June 1984 to July 1989, General Krishna Rao was the governor of Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura. He was also the Governor of Mizoram from June 1988 and March to July 1989. General Krishna Rao was appointed the governor of Jammu and Kashmir during 1989-90.
When a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir and reached its peak, he was reappointed the governor and served rom March 1993 to May 1998. In this capacity, he was instrumental in restoring peace and democracy in the insurgency-riven state.
He was Colonel of the Mahar Regiment during 1968-83. General Krishna Rao was conferred honorary D.Litts by the Andhra and Telugu universities, and a honorary doctorate in law by Sri Venkateswara University.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Indian Army chief, General Dalbir Singh, have condoled Gen. Krishna Rao’s death.
Parrikar remembered the veteran’s contribution in the 1971 war.
“The country has lost one of our best known military leaders. He was a visionary who led ably, inspired a generation of soldiers and initiated modernisation of the Indian Army in the early 1980s. His contribution in the 1971 war and maintaining the unity and integrity of the country shall always be remembered,” the defence minister said.