PUNE: Indian Army’s 1st Mahar Regiment, which is based in Pune, paid rich tributes to former Army Chief General KV Krishna Rao on the occasion of his 95th birthday, which is celebrated on July 16. All the units of the Mahar Regiment of the Indian Army in the country fondly remember Rao, also known as the ‘people’s General’.
Kotikalapudi Venkata Krishna Rao, who hails from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, took over the reins of the Army as its chief on June 1981.
General Rao was commissioned in the Army in August 1942 in the Mahar Regiment and served in Burma, North West Frontier and Baluchistan during the Second World War. He was part of Lord Mountbatten’s Punjab Boundary Force during Partition, which saved lives in both East and West Punjab during the extensive rioting. He saw action as a Company Commander with 3 Mahar, the infantry battalion he later commanded, in the Jammu and Kashmir operations of 1948.
But the moment he cherished most was the one he began his memoirs, In the Service of the Nation — Reminiscences, with: being witness to Pakistan’s surrender at Dhaka in December 1971. He was the GOC of 8 Mountain Division in Sylhet sector, where his division liberated North-East Bangladesh.
In 1975-76, as a Lt General, he headed the government-appointed expert committee on reorganisation and modernisation of defence services. His report of nine volumes, encompassing 1,740 pages, contained far-reaching recommendations, which were to be implemented over 25 years. Although his report was accepted by the government, most of the recommendations were not acted upon.
Gen Rao is credited with crafting the new forward policy against China as well as launching a major modernisation drive during his two-year tenure as the chief.
After his retirement, Gen Rao served as the governor of Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura from 1983 to 1989.
He was appointed the governor of J&K in July 1989. General Rao had a major role to play in subduing militancy in his second stint as governor of J&K from 1993 to 1998. He governed the state under Governor’s Rule and ensured successful parliamentary and assembly elections in the state in 1996.
He provided military helicopters and security to election commission officials and saw that the polls were conducted smoothly. He had earlier survived an IED blast during the Republic Day celebrations in Jammu in 1995.
On his 95th birthday, a grateful Nation remembers one of the tallest military leaders of India and pays homage to his spirit of a united and strong India. The Mahar Regiment pays special tributes to this great soldier and statesman.