'Sam Bahadur', hero of 1971 war, passes away

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Wellington, Tamil Nadu, Jun 27 (UNI) The country's first Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw is credited with scripting the nation's decisive military victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, leading to the liberation of Bangladesh.

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw (94), who passed away at the Military Hospital here early today, masterminded the rout of Pakistan in 1971 in just 14 days, earning him accolades from far and wide. His ability to motivate the forces, coupled with a mature war strategy, pushed Pakistan to a meek and unconditional surrender and the formation of Bangladesh.

'Sam Bahadur', as he was fondly called, had the unique distinction of becoming the first of only two Indian military officers to be conferred the highest rank of Field Marshal, the other being K M Cariappa, on January 1, 1973.

Born on April 3, 1914, in Amritsar to Parsi parents who moved to Punjab from the small town of Bulsar on the Gujarat Coast, Sam Manekshaw became the eigth Chief of Staff of the Indian Army in 1969.

In a career spanning nearly four decades, from the British era and World War II to the three wars against China and Pakistan after India's Independence in 1947, he had fought and won many a battles.

But, he is known even today as the hero of the Bangladesh liberation war.

A recipient of the prestigious Padma Bushan in 1968 and Padma Vibushan in 1972 for his distinguished service to the country, he had the rare distinction of being honoured with the Military Cross on the battle front itself for his bravery during World War-II.

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