Mangaluru-based Mahavir Chakra awardee, 1971 war hero Cmde KP Gopal Rao passes away


Team Udayavani, Aug 10, 2021, 8:44 AM IST

Chennai/Mangaluru: Mangaluru-based retired Indian Navy officer, Commodore Kasargod Patnashetti Gopal Rao (95), who bombed the Karachi port during the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971, died in Chennai on Monday.

His last rites were performed with full military honours at Besant Nagar in Chennai.

In 1971, when Pakistan aerially attacked India without declaring war, the Indian Navy tasked a strike group to attack Karachi port.

This was the first naval operation by the Indian Navy after Independence.

On the night of December 4, a part of the naval strike group led by Rao, which included the corvettes INS Kiltan and INS Katchall, bombed Karachi port and sank three Pakistan Navy ships, a cargo ship and set afire to the oil tankers at the port.

The mission was so successful and legendary that the Indian Navy started celebrating Navy Day on December 4 every year from 1971.

Rao was conferred with the Mahavir Chakra for his feat.

Rao was born in Madurai in 1926 and had joined the Navy in 1950.

He is survived by his wife Radha Rao, a son and two daughters.

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