Sourendra Nath Kohli

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Sourendra Nath Kohli

Born(1916-06-21)21 June 1916
Amritsar, Punjab[1]
Died21 January 1997(1997-01-21) (aged 80)[2]
Allegiance British India (till 1947)
 India (after 1947)
Service/branch Royal Indian Navy (till 1947)
Indian Navy (after 1947)
Years of service1936–1976
RankIN Admiral Shoulder curl.png Indian Admiral.jpg Admiral
Commands heldChief of the Naval Staff
FOC-IN-C, Western Naval Command
Flag Officer Commanding, Naval Fleet
INS Mysore (C60)
INS Rana (D115)
Battles/warsWorld War II
Liberation of Goa
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
AwardsIND Padma Bhushan BAR.png Padma Bhushan
Param Vishisht Seva Medal ribbon.svg Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM)
Other workAuthor, We dared[3]
Author, Sea power and the Indian Ocean[4]

Sourendra Nath Kohli (21 June 1916 – 21 January 1997) was an Indian Navy admiral who served as the 9th Chief of the Naval Staff from 1 March 1973 until 29 February 1976.[5] Kohli served as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-IN-C) of the Western Naval Command during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 and was responsible for the crippling attacks on the Pakistan Navy fleet in Karachi. His prior commands include those as the commanding officer of INS Mysore (C60) and INS Rana (D115).

Early life[edit]

Kohli was born in 1916 in Amritsar. He graduated with a B.A. (Honours) from St. Stephen's College in New Delhi.

Naval career[edit]

Kohli joined the Royal Indian Navy Volunteer Reserve as a cadet in May 1936, immediately after his graduation. He was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant in the RIN on 25 June 1938.[6]

During World War II, Kohli served in the Persian Gulf and in the Far Eastern theatre. He qualified as a Communication Specialist in the United Kingdom in 1943. He served on board HMS Queen Elizabeth (1913) in 1944-45.

He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1946 and served at the then RIN Naval Headquarters, HMIS Dalhousie.

After independence, Kohli opted to join the Indian Navy and was one of the key officers selected to oversee the expansion of the naval fleet. He was deputed to the United Kingdom in December 1948 in connection with acquisition of destroyers and was appointed Commanding Officer of INS Rana (D115) on her purchase from the Royal Navy in 1949.

Other appointments that Kohli held included those as the Senior Officer of the flagship of the Indian Navy, INS Godavari (D92). Later, he also served as the Commanding Officer of the flagship, INS Mysore (C60).

Kohli served as the superintendent of the Naval Dockyard in Bombay. He also twice served as the Director of Naval Plans. His staff appointments included those as Chief of Material and then as the Vice Chief of Naval Staff.

Kohli rose to Flag rank in August 1965. He was the Flag Officer Commanding of the Fleet from 1967 to 1969. Next, Kohli served as the Commandant of the National Defence College for two years until 1971.

On 12 February 1971, Kohli was appointed the Flag Officer Commading-in-Chief (FOC-IN-C) of the Western Naval Command. During the war with Pakistan in December 1971, Kohli provided operational leadership for the devastating attacks on Karachi harbour. He also led the defence of Indian Naval facilities on the west coast. He was also responsible for overseeing the safety of the Indian mercantile fleet during the war.

On 1 March 1973, Kohli took over as the Chief of the Naval Staff. He retired from the Navy on 29 February 1976.[5]


Kohli was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal in January 1968. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan for his exceptional leadership during the 1971 war.[7]

Later life[edit]

Kohli authored We dared, a memoir of the Indian Navy operations during the war of 1971.[3] He is also the author of Sea Power and the Indian Ocean, an analysis of the geo-political and maritime concerns in the Indian Ocean region.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Admiral Kohli was married to the late Sumitra Kohli, and had three daughters.[1]


  1. ^ a b Service Chiefs of India. Google Books. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b We dared: Maritime operations in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Google Books. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  4. ^ a b "Sea power and the Indian Ocean". National Defense University Library. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  5. ^ a b "Admiral Sourendra Nath Kohli, Padma Bhushan, PVSM". Information Resource Facilitation Centre, Indian Navy. Retrieved 2011-11-08.
  6. ^ The London Gazette, 14 October 1938
  7. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sardarilal Mathradas Nanda
Chief of the Naval Staff
Succeeded by
Jal Cursetji