Om Prakash Malhotra
Om Prakash Malhotra
6 August 1922|
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, British India
29 December 2015 (aged 93)|
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
British Indian Army|
|Years of service||1941–1981|
General Om Prakash "OP" Malhotra, PVSM (6 August 1922 – 29 December 2015) was an Indian Army General. He was the 13th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army from 1978 – 1981. He also served as the Ambassador of India to Indonesia from 1981 – 1984, and Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh from 1990 – 1991.
Malhotra was born in Srinagar, Kashmir, on 6 August 1922 and received his schooling first at Model High School, Srinagar, and then at Sri Pratap College, Srinagar. He then attended Government College, Lahore, before being selected to join the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.
He was commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery as a Second Lieutenant in November 1941. His first assignment was with 26 (Jacobs) Mountain Battery in Razmak, North West Frontier Province. He was later assigned to 15 (Jhelum) Mountain Battery which, as part of the 50th Parachute Brigade, fought against the Japanese during the Second World War on the Burmese front. He distinguished himself as a young officer in the Battle of Sangshak where he was wounded in action. He later became Second-in-Command of 13 (Dardoni) Mountain Battery.
Malhotra became an Instructor at the School of Artillery in Deolali, and in 1946 attended the Long Gunnery Staff Course at the Royal School of Artillery in Larkhill, United Kingdom. He commanded artillery regiments across India between November 1950 and July 1961 including 37 Coorg Anti Tank Regiment, 20 Locating Regiment and 42 Field Regiment. In between he served at Army HQ, New Delhi, did the Defense Services Staff College course at Wellington and was later an Instructor at the Defense Services Staff College, Wellington. He was then posted from 1962-1965 as the Military and Naval Attaché of India to the USSR, concurrently accredited to Poland and Hungary.
Upon return from Moscow in August 1965, Malhotra commanded 1 Artillery Brigade, part of 1 Armoured Division and fought in Sialkot Sector during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. After the ceasefire with Pakistan he commanded 167 Mountain Brigade at Sela Pass, Tawang District, North-East Frontier Agency. He was promoted to Major General in September 1967 and commanded 36 Infantry Division in Saugor for two years. From September 1969 till May 1972 he was Chief of Staff, IV Corps, in Tezpur during the Bangladesh Liberation War. He played a crucial role during the Battle of Sialkot during the Bangladesh Liberation War where, "the thrust by the 1 Artillery Brigade under his command forced Pakistan to thin forces from its main attack column that had overrun Khemkaran and was making a bid to drive a wedge through the heart of Punjab." Subsequently, he commanded XI Corps in Jalandhar for two years and was later the GOC-in-C Southern Command located at Pune.
In 1976, Malhotra was awarded the Param Vishist Seva Medal for "service of the most exceptional order". He was Vice Chief of Army Staff before taking over as Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army on 31 May 1978 and serving in that post for three years. He was an Honorary Senior Colonel Commandant of the Regiment of Artillery of the Indian Army and also an Honorary General of the Nepalese Army.
Ambassador to Indonesia and Governor of Punjab
After retiring from the Indian Army on 31 May 1981, Malhotra served as the Ambassador of India to Indonesia from 1981-1984. During 1990-1991, he was the Governor of the Indian State of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh when militancy in that state was at its height. Malhotra resigned from his post in protest when planned elections in the state were deferred by the National Election Commission without notice. Upon the postponement of the elections he said that "I have been through three Wars, I have been a General in the Wars, but I have never felt as defeated as I feel today after this announcement by the Election Commission that the Elections have been postponed."
A keen sportsman, Malhotra was for many years the President of the Equestrian Federation of India and the Founder President of the Asian Equestrian Federation. He was also the President of the Delhi Golf Club, New Delhi from 1979 - 1980.
Malhotra was a Founder Trustee of the Nehru Trust for the Indian Collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and served as the President of India's largest NGO, the "National Association for the Blind" in New Delhi. He was the Chairperson of the National Association for the Blind Centre For Blind Women & Disability Studies. He was an active member of Kiwanis Club of New Delhi, patron of the All India Federation of The Deaf, and a Trustee of the Delhi Cheshire Homes.
Malhotra died at his home in Gurugram due to complications of old age on 29 December 2015. On 31 December 2015 his funeral was held with full military honours at Brar Square. As former Chief of Army Staff from the Regiment of Artillery his body was carried to the funeral on an artillery gun carriage.
Honours and awards
- 1976: Param Vishist Seva Medal for "service of the most exceptional order".
- 1977: Honorary Senior Colonel Commandant of the Regiment of Artillery.
- 1980: Honorary General of the Nepalese Army.
- 1994: conferred the Degree of Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa by University of Jammu
- Seaman, Harry (1989). The Battle At Sangshak: Prelude to Kohim. Leo Cooper. pp. 130, 132. ISBN 9780850527209.
- Graham, Brigadier General C. A. L. (1957). The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery. Gale & Polden. pp. 352, 353.
- "20 Surveillance and Target Acquisition". Sainik Samachar.
- Praval, Major KC (2013). Indian Army After Independence. Lancer. p. 548. ISBN 9781935501619.
- Crossette, Barbara (19 December 1990). "Punjabis, Caught Between Sikh Rebels and New Delhi, Fear a Showdown". The New York Times. p. 3. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
- (2008) Grewal, J.S. The Cambridge History of India: The Sikhs of Punjab, pg. 287, Cambridge University Press, http://www.vidhia.com/Historical%20and%20Political/The_Sikhs_of_Punjab.pdf
- "Founder Members, Past Presidents & Captains". Delhigolfclub.org. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
- "Trustees of the NTICVA General Om Prakash Malhotra PVSM". Nehru Trust for the Indian Collections at the Victoria and Albert Mission. Nehru Trust. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
- "Org Summary". Guide Star India. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
- "Board of Trustees". Chikitsa. Retrieved 2015-12-29.
- ANI (29 December 2015). "Former COAS Gen. O P Malhotra passes away". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
- "COAS pays Tribute to Former COAS Gen Om Prakash Malhotra". pib.nic.in. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
- "h6". www.sainiksamachar.nic.in. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
Tapishwar Narain Raina
| Chief of Army Staff
Kotikalapudi Venkata Krishna Rao
A M Vohra
| Vice Chief of Army Staff
20 January 1977 - 31 May 1978
S L Menezes
| Governor of Punjab