General Om Prakash Malhotra, Ex Chief of Army Staff, Passes Away
Gen Om Prakash Malhotra, Former COAS (1978 to 1981)
General Om Prakash Malhotra passed away at the age of 93 years at his residence in Gurgaon on December 29, 2015. He was the 13th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army from 1978 to 1981, the Ambassador of India to Indonesia from 1981 to 1984 and Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh from 1990 to 1991.
The President of India in his condolence message said "He served the Indian Army with distinction for more than four decades. He was a distinguished public servant who made his mark as Chief of 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 PVSM in 1976. Gen Malhotra's service to the nation will always be remembered". The Defence Minister condoled the passing away of the General, stating "He had an illustrious career serving the armed forces and excelled as the ambassador of India to Indonesia and as administrator of Chandigarh and Governer of Punjab". General Dalbir Singh, the Chief of Army Staff laid a floral wreath to pay tribute to the former Army Chief and stated that "Gen OP Malhotra was the epitome of a soldier and a statesman who will always be remembered as one of the most prominent leaders in the annals of Indian Military History".
General Malhotra 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, General Malhotra was appointed General Officer Commanding-in-chief, Southern Command and in Jan 1977 as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff. General OP 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 mortal remains of Gen OP Malhotra were consigned to flames at Brar Square, Delhi Cantonment, on December 31, 2015. As per service protocol, all ex-Army Chiefs are accorded a funeral with full military honours. Wreaths were also laid on behalf of the President of India and the Defence Minister. Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, Ex-Army Chiefs (General VN Sharma, General NC Vij, General JJ Singh and General Bikram Singh), Chief of Army and Naval Staff, representative of office of Governor of Punjab, representative of Equestrian Federation of India and a host of serving and retired fraternity of Army were present on the occasion as a mark of respect to the ex-Army Chief.
The General is survived by Mrs Saroj Malhotra and his two children. His son, Mr 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.
- Col Rohan Anand
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COAS Gen Dalbir Singh paying homage at mortal remains of ex-Chief Gen OP Malhotra at Delhi Cantt
Gen Dalbir Singh interacting with relatives of Gen OP Malhotra during funeral ceremony at Delhi Cantt
Gun Carriage carrying the mortal remains of Gen OP Malhotra at New Delhi on December 31, 2015