Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Vice Admiral Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani
Born29 June 1931
Karachi, British India
Died1 September 2009(2009-09-01) (aged 78)
Malakkara, Pathanamthitta district, Kerala
Allegiance India
Service/branchIndian Navy
Years of service1949–1989
RankVice Admiral
Commands heldVice Chief of the Naval Staff
FOC-IN-C, Southern Naval Command
Deputy Chief of Naval Staff
Commanding officer INS Rajput (D51)
Commandant, INS Dronacharya
Commanding officer INS TIR
Battles/warsLiberation of Goa

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
AwardsNausena Medal
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
Param Vishisht Seva Medal
Other workMember, UPSC 1989-1995
Official Historian, Indian Navy 1995-2009;
Author, Transition to Triumph
Author, Transition to Eminence
Author, Transition to Guardianship

Gulab Mohanlal Hiranandani (29 June 1931 – 1 September 2009) was a senior Indian Navy officer who served as the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff from 1987 to 1989. His prior commands included those as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-IN-C) of the Southern Naval Command, Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, Chief of Staff of the Western Naval Command and the Commissioning Commanding Officer of the INS Rajput (D51), the lead vessel of the Rajput class destroyers. He was awarded the Nausena Medal for gallantry during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.

Vice Admiral Hiranandani is also credited with the detailed planning of the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala and INS Kadamba in Karwar, the foundation stones for which were laid during his tenure as flag Officer Commanding in Chief Southern Naval Command. During his tenure all Naval Training was centralized under the southern Naval Command. A brilliant tactician, his work remains pivotal to Indian naval training on maneuvers and operational tactics.

After retirement, Hiranandani served on the Union Public Service Commission. Later, he was appointed the Official Historian of the Indian Navy. He authored three landmark books on Indian naval history, Transition to Triumph, Transition to Eminence and Transition to Guardianship. These books covered the history of the Indian Navy from 1965 to 2000.

Service career[edit]

Gulab Hiranandani joined the Royal Indian Navy in 1949. He trained with the Royal Navy, between 1949 and 1953. He underwent specialized training in Gunnery and Missiles in 1957.[1] In 1965, he attended the Naval Staff College at Royal Naval College, Greenwich.[2] He held a Master's degree in Military Science and a doctorate in Political Science.

In 1961, he was appointed the Commandant of INS Dronacharya.

During the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, Hiranandani served as the Fleet Operations Officer of the Indian Navy. In this role, he led the detailed planning and logistics for key naval operations. He was awarded the Nausena Medal for his role in planning and implementing of Operation Trident and Operation Python.[3]

Hiranandani served as the Deputy Director Weapons policy & tactics (1968-1970) where he was instrumental in the acquisition of the Missile boats used in Operation Python & operation Trident. He developed the tactics on how to deploy them in War. During his Tenure as Commanding officer INS TIR (1970-1971) he developed & tested methods of towing the short range missile boats from Vizag in Bombay in heavy seas during the monsoon of 1971. These techniques were then used to tow the missile boats near Karachi harbour to be used as Missile delivery Vehicles with devastating effect. He was appointed the Director of Combat Policy and Tactics (DCPT) between 1974 and 1977. He was a deep thinker and brilliant tactician. His work on naval strategy remains the basis for much of the tactical training and operational maneuvers of the Indian Navy. He was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) for this contribution.

In 1980, he commissioned INS Rajput (D51), the lead vessel of the Rajput class destroyers as its first Commanding Officer.[4]

He was appointed the Chief of Staff of the Western Naval Command in 1981. He was appointed the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff in 1983. During this time he laid the foundation for the Project 15 Class of Stealth Guided Missile destroyers. He worked in close co-ordination with the DRDO & Bharat Electricals to indigenously design the electronics and Missile systems required for our new Warships. He is instrumental in putting together a long ship building plan which gave The indian navy the capability to be self sufficient in building its own up to date warships and missiles.

In 1985, Vice Admiral Hiranandani was appointed the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Southern Naval Command. During his tenure in this office, he led the detailed planning for the development of the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala, Kerala. He was also involved in the planning of INS Kadamba in Karwar, Karnataka. He was instrumental in persuading the Chief Ministers of Kerala and Karnataka to transfer the land for these massive projects to the navy.[3] He was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) for these contributions.

In 1987, he was appointed the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff. During his Tenure as Vice Chief on naval staff he was able to get long term sanctions in place from the Defence & finance ministries so the Ezhimala, Karwar and Ship building programs could proceed to Fruition. Over the next 20 years in his time as OSD to Naval headquarters he monitored and facilitated the progress of these programs. Vice Admiral Hiranandani retired from active service in the Indian Navy in 1989. He continued to mentor the navy for the next 20 years.

Later contributions[edit]

After retirement from the Navy, Admiral Hiranandani served as a member of the Union Public Service Commission for six years between 1989 and 1995. He retired as the commission's Acting Chairman.

In 1995, he was appointed the Official Historian of the Indian Navy. He authored a trilogy on the history of the Indian navy. Transition to Triumph covering the period between 1965 and 1975 was published in 1999.[5] Transition to Eminence captures naval history between 1976 and 1990 was published in 2004.[6] Transition to Guardianship covers the history of the navy between 1991 and 2000 and was completed just before his death. It was released on Navy Day, 4 December 2009. This contemporary history of the Indian Navy is Unique in that by providing a detailed account on Naval history in the 20th century it allows Naval officers to learn about naval history and perhaps help them to learn from this and prevent mistakes. One of Admiral Hiranandani's favourite sayings was, "Those who fail to learn from the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them" His aim in writing the History of the Indian Navy was to leave behind a document for later generations of Naval Officers to learn from the mistakes of the past.

Vice Admiral Hiranandani also wrote a number of analytical reports on a maritime security and strategic issues.[7] and analysis reports. He was a mentor & guide to many generations of Naval officers. The Naval history cell in Naval headquarters was a place for many young officers to seek advice and guidance. He served his Nation with distinction for 60 years from 1949 to 2009, working to the last day of his life as Officer on Special Duty to Naval Headquarters. Very few can claim to have spent 60 years in service of their nation.

Personal life[edit]

Vice Admiral Hiranandani was married to Susheel Hiranandani. His son, Dr Manik Hiranandani, is an eminent physician. His daughter, Meera Sanyal, was a well-known banker and civil society activist.[3]


  1. ^ Vice Admiral Gulab Hiranandani, Indian Navy (Retired) (Spring 2002). "The Indian End of the Telescope: India and Its Navy". Naval War College Review. LV (2). Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  2. ^ "Hiranandani, Page 2". Dal Sabzi for the Aatman. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  3. ^ a b c "Vice-Admiral Hiranandani cremated with full Naval honours". The Hindu. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
  4. ^ "Vice-Admiral G M Hiranandani passes away". Deccan Herald. 2009-09-04. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  5. ^ Vice Admiral G. M. Hiranandani. Transition to Triumph: History of the Indian Navy 1965-75. Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  6. ^ Vice Admiral G. M. Hiranandani. Transition to Eminence: History of the Indian Navy 1976-90. Indian Navy. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  7. ^ "Articles By Vice Adm (Retd) GM Hiranandani". Indian Defence Review. Retrieved 2012-01-19.