The Veer Ahir who set Karachi ablaze
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The Veer Ahir who set Karachi ablaze

The valiant land of Ahirwal has produced many heroes. None more valorous than Commodore Babru Bhan Yadav, Maha Vir Chakra, born in a military family of Bharawas village, Rewari district, his father Major Bhagwan Singh Yadav, MBE a veteran of both World Wars. Mandeep Singh Bajwa writes

chandigarh Updated: Jun 23, 2013 10:18 IST
Mandeep Singh Bajwa
Mandeep Singh Bajwa
Hindustan Times

The valiant land of Ahirwal has produced many heroes. None more valorous than Commodore Babru Bhan Yadav, Maha Vir Chakra, born in a military family of Bharawas village, Rewari district, his father Major Bhagwan Singh Yadav, MBE a veteran of both World Wars. Colonel Mahendra Singh Yadav was his elder brother; the latter's sons including Colonel Dalip Yadav and Air Commodore Rakesh Yadav. In fact the family's military lineage dates back to the Mughal period. A Stephanian, he passed his BSc in 1947 being commissioned in the Navy in 1951.

Yadav led the brilliant missile attack against Karachi harbour and Pakistani naval forces in 1971, code named Operation Trident, as the commander of the 25th Missile Squadron comprising INS Nipat (Lieutenant Commander BN Kavina, VrC), INS Nirghat (Lieutenant Commander IJ Sharma, AVSM, VrC ) and INS Veer (Lieutenant Commander OP Mehta, VrC NM). These Osa-1 class missile boats were each armed with four SS-N-2B Styx anti-ship missiles.

Designed by the Russians for coastal defence, with a limited range the Indian Navy planned to use them in an offensive role against the enemy by towing them to a position near the enemy coast. Their sister ship INS Vidyut was to remain on patrol off Dwarka to provide cover for the task force. The Petya class anti-submarine corvettes INS Kiltan (Commander KP Gopal Rao, MVC, VSM) and INS Katchall were to provide communications and indicate suitable targets with their superior radar as well as give anti-submarine cover.

The task force approaching Karachi made contact with the destroyer PNS Khaiber at about 2245 hours Pakistan Time on December 4, INS Nirghat launching two missiles and sinking her. Thereafter INS Nipat fired two missiles sinking the merchant vessel Venus Challenger carrying ammunition and crippling her escort the destroyer PNS Shah Jehan. The strike group had sailed to within 50 km of Karachi. INS Veer was ordered to engage a contact on her starboard (right) bow. The Styx missile fired by her struck the minesweeper PNS Muhafiz on the port (left) side disintegrating her. The crew didn't even get time to send off a distress signal!

Apprehending a reaction by the enemy air force, Yadav now ordered a withdrawal by the other two boats to the pre-determined rendezvous with the tanker INS Poshak. Cool as a cucumber throughout, he now took Nipat to within 25 km of the shore, firing a Styx at the Keamari oil terminal setting off a spectacular blaze. The hard training Babru Bhan had put his squadron through had paid off handsomely.

This set the stage for the second missile attack on Karachi after which what was left of the Pakistani fleet never again ventured out to sea. The Indian Navy was in total control of the seas.

Prince of spymasters goes to the Great Parade Ground in the Sky

The strategic world and Indian patriots were deeply saddened by the passing away of Mr Bahukutimbi Raman on June 15 after a long fight with cancer. A legend in the Research and Analysis Wing he remained a prolific commentator on strategic, intelligence, security and foreign affairs long after retirement and till his dying breath.

Joining the Indian Police Service in 1961, he was permanently seconded to the Intelligence Bureau, becoming one of the founding fathers of the external intelligence agency when it was founded in 1968. Popularly known as 'Burma' Raman from the time he headed the division dealing with that country he became the definitive expert on all of South Asia. His incisive analyses on matters pertaining to national security were always a treat to read containing as they did exhaustive details gleaned from a lifetime of examining, studying and evaluating information about every conceivable topic pertaining to the subject.

This writer was the recipient of many kindnesses from the old master himself, including guidance and course correction. I owe him a lot. Sleep well, Prince of spymasters, those whom you strove throughout your life to protect so well, the people of India will always retain your memory in their hearts.

The uniformed services to the aid of flood-devastated Uttarakhand

The central and state governments' disaster management plan appears to contain just the one sentence, 'Call out the Army'. In the wake of the recent monsoon fury in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and particularly Uttarakhand the uniformed services - the Army, IAF, NDRF and ITBP - have shouldered the burden of rescuing people, restoring communications and bringing life back to an even keel. All this has been done most efficiently, swiftly, cheerfully and with utmost dedication. The Army's Twitter page @adgpi has kept everyone informed with regular Tweets.

The Uttarakhand government provides well in its own way for its ex-servicemen and serving soldiers I'm sure. But what prevents it and other state governments from raising their voice to the clamour for better pay, perks, pensions and facilities for soldiers and veterans?

Would like to hear from people whose ancestors fought in the First World War. Any theatre, any unit. Please write in to or call on 093161-35343.

First Published: Jun 23, 2013 10:16 IST