Kunhiraman Palat Candeth

Kunhiraman Palat Candeth
Kunhiraman Palath Candeth-.jpg
Military Governor of Goa, Daman and Diu
In office
19 December 1961 – 6 June 1962
Preceded by Post Established
Succeeded by T. Sivasankar (as Lieutenant Governor of Goa, Daman and Diu)
Personal details
Born 23 September 1916
Ottapalam, Madras Presidency, India
Died 19 May 2003
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Relations Sir C. Sankaran Nair (Maternal Grandfather)
Vengayil Kunhiraman Nayanar (Paternal Grandfather)
Awards IND Padma Bhushan BAR.png Padma Bhushan
Param Vishisht Seva Medal ribbon.svg Param Vishisht Seva Medal
Military service
Allegiance  British India
Branch/service  British Indian Army
 Indian Army
Years of service 1934–1973
Rank Lieutenant General of the Indian Army.svg Lieutenant General
Unit Royal Indian Artillery
Commands IA Western Command.svg Western Army
8 Mountain Division
17 Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Indo-Pakistan War of 1947
Operation Vijay
Indo-Pakistan War of 1965
Indo-Pakistan War of 1971

Lieutenant General Kunhiraman Palat Candeth, PVSM (Hindi: के पी कंडेथ; 23 October 1916 – 19 May 2003) was a senior army officer in the Indian Army who played a commanding role in Liberation of Goa from Portuguese control in 1961, and briefly tenured as the Military Governor of Goa, Daman and Diu.

He later served as the Deputy Chief of Army Staff based on GHQ in New Delhi at the midst of the second war in 1965, and later effectively commanded the Western Command during the third war with Pakistan in 1971.

Early life

He was born in Ottapalam, Madras Presidency (now Kerala) in British India (now India) to MA Candeth, being the grandson of the landlord and writer Vengayil Kunhiraman Nayanar. His maternal grandfather was Sir C. Sankaran Nair, who was the President of the Indian National Congress.[1][2] He had done his training at the Prince of Wales Royal Indian Military College, Dehradun, where he was highly rated in the classroom and on the playing field. Candeth was commissioned in the British Indian Army on 30 August 1936 in 28 Field Brigade of the Royal Indian Artillery.

Military career


Commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1936, Candeth saw action in West Asia during the Second World War. And, shortly before India's independence from colonial rule, he was deployed in the North West Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan, to quell local tribes. The mountainous terrain gave Candeth the experience for his later operations against Nagaland separatists in the North East. He attended the Military Services Staff College at Quetta, capital of Baluchistan in 1945.

Kashmir 1947

After Independence, Candeth was commanding an artillery regiment that was deployed to Jammu and Kashmir after Pakistan-backed tribesmen attacked and captured a third of the province before being forced back by the Indian Army. Thereafter, Candeth held a series of senior appointments, including that of Director General of Artillery at Army Headquarters in Delhi, to which he was appointed on 8 September 1959, with the acting rank of major-general (substantive colonel).[3]


Following Indian independence from British rule, certain parts of India were still under foreign rule. While the French left India in 1954, the Portuguese, however, refused to leave. After complex diplomatic pressure and negotiations had failed, finally on 18 December 1961 the Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's patience ran out and he sanctioned military action. Kunhiraman Candeth earned his name in Operation Vijay—the Liberation of Goa, Daman and Diu from Portuguese rule. As 17 Infantry Division commander, Candeth took the colony within a day and was immediately appointed Goa's first Indian administrator (acting as the Military Governor), a post he held till June 1962.

North East

After relinquishing charge as Goa's Military Governor in 1963, Candeth was appointed GOC, Nagaland on 23 August 1963.[4] He took command of the newly raised 8 Mountain Division in the North-East on 15 November 1963,[5] where he battled, although with little success, the highly organised Naga insurgents. The insurgency in the North East has not been quelled completely to this day. On 7 May 1965, he was appointed Deputy Chief of the Army Staff (DCOAS) with the acting rank of lieutenant-general.[6] He was promoted lieutenant-general on 17 January 1966,[7] and was appointed GOC-in-C, Western Command on 27 September 1969.[8]

Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 that led to East Pakistan breaking away to become Bangladesh, Candeth (at that stage a lieutenant-general), was the Western Army commander responsible for planning and overseeing operations in the strategically crucial regions of Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan where the fiercest fighting took place.

Awards and later life

Lt. Gen. Kunhiraman Palat Candeth was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal and also the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.[9] Retiring from the army on 21 October 1972,[10] he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 1990s and was appointed a member of the Party's Executive Committee.[11] He remained a bachelor till the end.

Dates of rank

Insignia Rank Component Date of rank
British Army OF-1a.svg Second Lieutenant British Indian Army 15 July 1937 (seniority 30 August 1936)[12]
British Army OF-1b.svg Lieutenant British Indian Army 30 November 1938[13]
British Army OF-2.svg Captain British Indian Army 1940 (acting)[12]
1 January 1941 (temporary)[12]
30 August 1944 (substantive)[12]
British Army OF-2.svg Captain Indian Army 15 August 1947[note 1][14]
British Army (1928-1953) OF-6.svg Brigadier Indian Army 1948 (acting)[note 1][14]
British Army (1920-1953) OF-3.svg Major Indian Army 30 August 1949[15][note 1][14]
Major of the Indian Army.svg Major Indian Army 26 January 1950 (recommissioning and change in insignia)[14][16]
Lieutenant Colonel of the Indian Army.svg Lieutenant-Colonel Indian Army 1953
Colonel of the Indian Army.svg Colonel Indian Army 30 August 1956[17]
Brigadier of the Indian Army.svg Brigadier Indian Army 30 August 1959[18]
Major General of the Indian Army.svg Major General Indian Army 8 September 1959 (acting)[3]
Lieutenant General of the Indian Army.svg Lieutenant-General Indian Army 7 May 1965 (acting)[6]
11 January 1966 (substantive)[7]

See also