General KV Krishna Rao (retired), who donned many critical mantles for India politically, besides being the 14th Chief of Indian Army, breathed his last here on Saturday, at the age of 92. He passed away at the Army Research and Referral hospital following a cardiac arrest, the Army said in a statement.The officer, who figures in the famous frame of the 1971 War, in which Pakistani Lieutenant General Niazi surrendered to Lieutenant General JS Aurora, is also hailed as having dexterously dealt with political upheavals in Jammu and Kashmir as the state’s governor where he ensured Parliament and state assembly elections under his tenure.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He had two tenures as governor in J&K during the turbulent phase of the beginning of miltancy — 1989-90 and then between 1993-1998. In 1995, he survived a series of bomb explosion during his Republic Day speech at Jammu.It was during his first tenure as Governor in Jammu and Kashmir, that militancy reared its head again. He was removed and the reins were handed over to Jagmohan. But it it to his credit that three years later, when he returned as governor in 1993, he is effectively broke the back of militancy.The celebrated Army officer was commissioned in the Indian Army in 1942 — which was the first time Indians were allowed as officers – and had many feats credited to him as a military commander. He is considered the father of the notable Operation Falcon by the Indian Army on the Sino-Indian border and also participated in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. His division was instrumental in capturing of the Sylhet Area and the liberation of North East Bangladesh. He was awarded the Param Vishist Seva Medal for his role in the Bangladesh war.As a young officer, he served in Burma, North West Frontier and Baluchistan during the Second World War.General Rao retired as Chief of the Army Staff and Chairman Chiefs of Staff in 1983.Remembering Rao, Strategic Affairs expert Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak (retd) said that his death was “a big loss, as he was not just a military commander but an able administrator”.”Apart from role as the army chief, he had a distinguished career as the governor of turbulent Jammu and Kashmir. He managed to rule the state very skilfully and successfully and unlike other governors, gelled well and was popular with Kashmiris,” Kak said.Former military secretary and former commander of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps of the Indian Army, Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (retd) remembers Rao fondly as someone he knew personally.”My father (who was also a Major General) and he worked together. My son and his son grew up together. I have watched him from close quarters and can proudly say that he was among the finest officers that the Indian Army has had. He was extremely far-sighted as a military man and not a tactical operations expert. Perhaps, this was the trait that led him to a successful tenure as governor in Jammu and Kashmir.”Rao also served as governor of Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura in June 1984 where he is credited with checking insurgency.
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