Born On: October 10, 1915
Born In: Punjab, India
Died On: May 11, 2009
Career: Chief of Naval Staff of Indian Navy
The name S M Nanda arouses mixed feelings in the minds of people in India and around the world. While on one hand Admiral S M Nanda had a lucrative career as the Chief of the Naval Staff in the Indian Navy, bringing home victory for his country at the end of the Indo - Pak war, the last few years of his life did not show the Admiral in a favorable light. Admiral S M Nanda, along with his family members have been at the helm of several high profile illegal activities which has only helped the Indian hero to draw flak from the Indian media and the nation in general. Nevertheless, Admiral S M Nanda had to his name a number of prestigious Indian national honors during his lifetime.
Sardarilal Matharadas Nanda, popularly known as S M Nanda, was born on October 10 in the year 1915. Though he was born on the island of Manora near Karachi, his family shifted base to Perth in Western Australia, therefore it was essentially in Australia that S M Nanda spent his childhood years. It was in this suburban area of Perth that he grew up. Later, the family returned to India and took up a residence near Karachi (now in Pakistan) in pre-independent India. As a child, he spent hours watching the activities of the Royal Indian Navy closely at a time when he did not even know that he would rise to the high ranks of the Indian Navy.
Career In The Indian Navy
S M Nanda always had a keen interest to be a part of the Indian Navy ever since he spent some of his growing up years near the port of Karachi watching the operations of the naval forces. This keen interest soon turned into a passion and then his career; for not only did he go on to join the Indian Navy, he rose to the ranks of the Chief of Naval Staff, which is the highest post of the Indian Navy. In 1941, S M Nanda joined the Royal Indian Naval Volunteer Reserve, prior to which he had served with Port Trust, Karachi. Post independence, Nanda held a number of important appointments, both ashore and afloat that gave him varied experience.
Seven years later, in 1948, Nanda joined Navy's first cruiser INS DELHI in the UK as her First Lieutenant. Upon returning to India, he served as Director of Personnel Services at Naval HQ for two years from 1949 till 1951. Next, he commanded the destroyer INS RANJIT as also the Frigate Squadron. His career graph took a major turn when he was posted back to Naval Headquarter, as he became the Chief of Personnel and was promoted to the position of the Commodore. In the year 1957, Nanda commissioned the cruiser INS Mysore in the UK. Subsequently, he was appointed Director General, Naval Dockyard Expansion Scheme, at Bombay.
For his immaculate and dedicated service, S M Nanda was awarded with the Ati Vishishta Seva Medal in 1961. Thereafter, he underwent a course at the Imperial Defence College, London, returning to Naval Headquarter to assume the appointment of Chief of Material in the Rank of Commodore. In the May of 1962, Nanda was appointed as the Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff in the rank of Rear Admiral. Two years later, he became the Managing Director of Mazagon Dock, Ltd. Bombay, and served there for 18 months. During this period, the re-organization scheme of the Mazagon Dock and Leander class frigates project were simultaneously taken up and he was responsible for giving both a good start.
Nanda was awarded with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal for his distinguished service in 1966. On February 28, 1970, he succeeded Admiral AK Chatterji, and took over the office of the Chief of the Naval Staff. He remained in office as the Chief of Naval Staff for three years until February 28, 1973. During his term, Admiral S M Nanda went on to create history with his operations in Karachi. It was under his leadership that the Indian Navy successfully completed its operations in the Indo-Pak war, which subsequently led to the formation of the separate state of Bangladesh. It was his involvement in the Indo-Pak war that won Admiral S M Nanda the title of 'the man who bombed Karachi'. Admiral S M Nanda was awarded with a Padma Vibhushan award in 1972.
The 1971 war, one of the shortest in world history, was a conflict between two neighboring countries India and Pakistan. During the 13 days of war, Indian and Pakistani forces, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, clashed in the eastern and western coastal regions of the borders leading to a perpetual destruction of the coastal city of Karachi. The war effectively came to an end after the Eastern Command of the Pakistani Armed Forces signed the Instrument of Surrender, the first and perhaps the only public surrender to date, on December 16, 1971 following which East Pakistan was seceded as the independent state of Bangladesh.