Former Army chief OP Malhotra dead

Gurgaon, Dec 29: Former Army chief General (retired) O P Malhotra died due to old age complications at his residence here today. He was 93.

Malhotra was the 13th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army from 1978–1981, the Ambassador of India to Indonesia from 1981-1984 and Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh from 1990-1991.

Condoling the death of Malhotra, President Pranab Mukherjee said, "He was a distinguished public servant who made his mark as Chief of the Army Staff, Ambassador of India to Indonesia, Administrator of Chandigarh and Governor of Punjab."

"For his outstanding services to the nation and the Indian Army, he was honoured with Param Vishist Seva Medal in 1976. General Malhotra's services to the nation will be always remembered," Mukherjee said.

Born in Srinagar in Kashmir on August 6, 1922, Malhotra received his schooling first at Model High School, Srinagar and later at SP Higher Senior Secondary School. He attended Government College, Lahore, before being selected to join the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

He was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery. He commanded different Artillery Regiments between November 1950 and July 1961, besides being an instructor at the Defence Service Staff College, Wellington. He was the Military Attache at the Indian Embassy in Moscow for over three years from June 1962.

He commanded an Artillery Brigade from August 1965 to January 1966 and thereafter took over a Mountain Brigade.

He commanded an Infantry Division and was thereafter posted as the Chief of Staff in a Corps Headquarters in the Eastern Sector in September 1969 till May 1972, when he took over a Corps in the Western Sector.

In 1974, Malhotra was appointed General Officer Commanding-in-chief Southern Command and in January 1977 as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff. Malhotra, assumed the office of the Chief of the Army Staff in June 1978.

He was also the President of the Equestrian Federation of India for nearly nine years. In 1994, the University of Jammu conferred the Degree of Doctor of Letters (Honours Causa) upon him. The former Army chief is survived by his wife Saroj Malhotra and two children.

His son, Ajai Malhotra was Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation, Kuwait, Romania and Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in New York.


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