Former Navy chief Admiral L. Ramdas, a hero of 1971 war, passes away at 91

Hyderabad/Mumbai:  Former India Navy chief, Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, who played a heroic role during the 1971 India-Pakistan War which led to the birth of Bangladesh, passed away in a military hospital in Telangana on Friday morning. He was 91.

“With profound grief and a heavy heart, we regret to announce the sad demise of Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas PVSM, AVSM, VrC, VSM (Retd), former Chief of the Naval Staff, age 90 years, on #15 Mar 24 at Secundarabad”, the Indian Navy said.

He is survived by his wife Lalita and their three daughters and grandchildren.

Admiral Ramdas (retd), who was also the recipient of the Magsaysay Award for Peace in 2004, breathed his last at the military hospital in Secunderabad, owing to old age-related issues.

His funeral will be held in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Admiral Ramdas served as the 13th Chief of Navy Staff for around three years between December 1, 1990, to September 30, 1993, and post-retirement espoused the cause of global nuclear disarmament, demilitarisation and other major international campaigns.

He was involved with the Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy and advocated peace between the two neighbours, demilitarisation and denuclearization of South Asia which earned him global recognition and the Magsaysay Award.

The couple were familiar faces in Alibaug sea resort in Raigad, where they lived and were popularly known as ‘Ramu’ and ‘Lolly’, and also popular in Mumbai.

Lalita Ramdas is the daughter of the third Indian Navy chief Admiral R.D. Katari who was the first Indian to hold the post after Independence.

The Indian Navy in a social media tribute said: “During his illustrious career spanning over 40 years, the Admiral held several important appointments such as Commanding Officer INS Beas during the 1971 Indo-Pak War, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, Controller Warship Production and Acquisition, Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, FOC-in-C (South) and FOC-in-C (East), and rose to the helm as the 13th CNS of the Indian Navy on 01 Dec 1990.”

Born in Mumbai, he became a cadet at the Armed Forces Academy in Dehradun, and later at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England before being commissioned to the Indian Navy on September 1, 1953.

He was promoted to Commander on June 30, 1969, and went on to establish and head the Naval Academy in Kerala’s Kochi.

During the 1971 India-Pakistan war, he was part of the Eastern Fleet and commanded frigate INS Beas. At that time, he took part in the effective naval blockade by India of the erstwhile East Pakistan which foiled Pakistan’s attempts to evacuate 93,000 troops who ultimately surrendered to the Indian forces, leading to the creation of Bangladesh.

Admiral Ramdas’ Vir Chakra citation read: “….throughout the period of operations, he was called upon to operate within enemy waters, where there was constant danger to his ship from enemy mines and submarines. Undeterred, he carried out continuous probes into the enemy-defended harbours in Bangladesh and inflicted heavy damage on the enemy. During one of the sorties, an enemy submarine was sighted close to his ship. He attacked the submarine repeatedly, which was presumably destroyed.”

Later, he was also involved in the anti-corruption movement, worked briefly with the Aam Aadmi Party, and in 2022, the Ramdas couple joined Rahul Gandhi’s first Bharat Jodo Yatra on its Telangana leg.


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