Nilakanta Krishnan

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Vice Admiral
Nilakanta Krishnan
Image of Vice Admiral Nilakanta Krishnan from cover of biography
Born 1919
Died January 1982
Allegiance  British India
Service/branch  Royal Indian Navy
 Indian Navy
Years of service 1938-1947, 1947-1976
Rank Indian Vice Admiral.gif Vice Admiral
Commands held Eastern Naval Command
Awards Padma Bhushan[1]
Lt Gen A A K Niazi signing the Instrument of Surrender under the gaze of Lt Gen J S Aurora. Standing immediately behind (L-R) Vice Admiral Krishnan, Air Marshal Dewan, Lt. Gen Sagat Singh and Maj Gen JFR Jacob.

Vice Admiral Nilakanta Krishnan DSC, PVSM (1919 – January 1982), was the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. He is credited with using a very innovative strategy, while commanding the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, in the Bay of Bengal. He is believed to have tricked the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi, which was on a search and destroy mission, into entering Visakhapatnam; where it was eliminated. Krishnan was the youngest son of Rao Bahadur Mahadeva Nilakanta Ayyar (an Executive Engineer [2] ).[3] While his eldest brother Nilakanta Mahadeva Ayyar pursued his career in the Indian Civil Service cadre, Krishnan joined the Royal Indian Navy. Under his leadership, the aircraft carrier's Sea Hawks struck shipping in the Chittagong and Cox's Bazar harbours, sinking or incapacitating most ships in harbor. His command during the war, led the crew of Vikrant to earn two Mahavir Chakras and 12 Vir Chakras.

Nilakanta Krishnan was appointed Sub-Lieutenant of the Royal Indian Navy on 1 September 1940.;[4] this was a time, when India was still a part of the British Empire. In 1942 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for "courage, enterprise and devotion to duty in operations in the Persian Gulf".[5] He had been serving on HMIS Investigator at that time,[6] Admiral Krishnan retired from the Indian Navy in 1976.

Krishnan wrote an autobiography, A Sailor' Story, which was edited by Arjun Krishnan.[7] He had also written No way But Surrender — An Account of the Indo-Pakistani War in the Bay of Bengal.[8]


  1. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 15, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  2. ^ Doyle, Patrick (1905). Indian engineering, Volume 37. Calcutta. pp. xii. 
  3. ^ Krishnan, N. A Sailor's story. Bangalore: Punya Pub. ISBN 9788189534141. 
  4. ^ "No. 34960". The London Gazette. 4 October 1940. p. 5841. 
  5. ^ "No. 35481". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 March 1942. p. 1105. 
  6. ^ Cannon, Peter (2011). "HMAS Yarra and Operation Marmalade". Australian Maritime Issues 2010: SPC-A Annual (PDF). Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs, No. 35. Sea Power Centre, Australian Department of Defence. p. 96. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-27. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  7. ^ Krishnan, Nilakanta (2011). Krishnan, Arjun, ed. A Sailor's Story. Punya Publishing. ISBN 978-8189534134. 
  8. ^ Krishnan, Nilakanta (1980). No way But Surrender — An Account of the Indo-Pakistani War in the Bay of Bengal. Vikas,. ISBN 0706910184.