10 Heroes of Indian Navy Who Went Out of Line in Service, From 1971 to Yemen

The Indian Navy also known as Bhāratīya Nau Senā) is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces. As of January 2017, 10,279 officers and 56,830 sailors are in service with the Navy.

With one of the longest coastlines for any country in the world, India has always been protected fiercely by its navy and its officers. Here is a list of our 10 real life heroes, who have served the navy with immense courage and loyalty and are marvelously still doing so.

1. Indian Navy MARCOS​

The Marine Commando Force (MCF), also known as MARCOS, is a Special Forces unit, by the Indian Navy. The night of 26/11 Mumbai attacks has seen eight rebellious saviors of MARCOS against a group of terrorists on a killing spree in the city. Around 165 people died that day but the numbers could have been far higher if it was not for the timely intervention of the MARCOS.

2. Cdr Milind Mohan Mokashi​

In 2015, Cdr Mokashi evacuated thousands of Indian and Foreign nationals from war-ravaged Yemen during Operation Rahat. Aden Harbour, on the night of March 31, was being patrolled by the boats of Houthi rebels who were heavily armed, when Cdr Mokashi intervened in a ship. Being the Commanding Officer of INS Sumitra, he immediately deployed armed boats manned by the sailors.

The officer received the Shaurya Chakra for his outstanding efforts, braving the heavy firing and shelling, by taking charge of the situation to ensure the safe embarkation of evacuees amid heavy firing.

3. Vice Admiral Krishnan​

In 1971, Vice-Admiral Krishnan, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, used a creative strategy that stunned Pakistan during the war. Krishnan was alarmed of the presence of Ghazi, Pakistan’s destructive submarine in the Bay of Bengal. That concerned him about INS Vikrant, one of India’s greatest and most formidable carriers. So he got an ageing destroyer INS Rajput to pretend to be Vikrant by sailing it out of Vizag and deceived the Pakistani Navy into believing that it was INS Vikrant.

Pakistanis ordered to change the direction of Ghazi to Vizag, falling for the trap. A few days later it was hit by an explosion and destroyed, whereas, INS Vikrant had been safely stationed in Andaman. Vikrant launched its first air strikes after Ghazi sank, that shook the Pakistani army.

4. Captain Pradeep Singh​


Captain Pradeep Singh is the recipient of the Nao Sena Medal for Gallantry for his efforts and planning in 2015, during Operation Rahat. Captain Singh evacuated around 600 people of 18 nationalities and also 10 nurses who were stuck in heavy cross firing from Al Hodeidah and Aden harbours in Yemen.

5. Second Officer Kalyani Sen​

Despite of the fact that women did not serve on board the ships, they did have some role in the navy being in Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service, established as part of the The Royal Indian Navy (RIN) during World War II. Second officer Kalyani Sen was the first Indian Service Woman to visit the UK to make a comparative study of training and administration in the Women’s Royal Naval Service.

“In India there is still a big prejudice against girls and women working with men…but the women are so keen to get into the Services that they are breaking it down,” she said.

6. Captain Rajesh Dhankhar​

Captain Rajesh Dhankar of INS Mumbai safely evacuated 441 Indians and foreign nationals amidst heavy shelling in war-torn Yemen as a part of Operation Rahat. The commanding officer led his team and fought fearlessly to save lives even during dark hours. He received the Nao Sena Medal for Gallantry for saving hundreds.

7. Commodore Babru Bhan Yadav​


Commodore Babru Bhan Yadav was the first to be awarded with Maha Vir Chakra in 1972. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, in 1971, Yadav led a smart missile attack against Pakistan’s port city of Karachi. “Operation Trident” was the code name of the mission.

Commodore Yadav’s citation reads that he displayed great leadership in the “offensive sweep on the enemy coast off Karachi, deep into the enemy harbor where he encountered two groups of large enemy warships, despite the threat of air, surface and submarine attack.”

8. Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla​

Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla was an officer of the Indian Navy and the captain of the INS Khukri. . He was the first captain of independent India’s navy to go down with his ship in the Arabian Sea after being torpedoed by a Pakistani submarine during the Indo-Pak War of 1971. Mulla died with eighteen officers and 176 sailors who went down with INS Khuri.

“He (Capt. Mulla) was aware that the majority of his officers and men were trapped below deck. Being the man that he was, he knew that it was not right for him to save himself while his sailors went to a watery grave. In those few moments he helped as many as he could, and then went down with his ship. In this brave and heroic action, Captain Mulla teaches us not only how to live, but how to die”, said Maj. General (retd) Ian Cardozo, who authored a book about this incident.

9. Kunjali Marakkar​

During the 16th century, Kunhali or Kunjali Marakkar was the title given to the Muslim naval chief of the Zamorin, the Hindu king of Calicut, Kerela. Four Kunhalis participated in the war with Portugese from 1502 to 1600 being credited for organizing the first naval defence of the Indian coast.

10. Rear Admiral Rishi Raj Sood​

Rear Admiral Rishi Raj Sood received the Vir Chakra. His award citation reads:

“During the hostilities with Pakistan in December 1971, Commander Rishi Raj Sood was the commanding officer of one of the Indian naval ships, which participated in operations in the Arabian Sea. His ship formed part of an anti-submarine attack force, which was involved in hunting and killing enemy submarines. When INS Khukri received multiple torpedo hits from an enemy submarine, Commander Sood rushed his ship into a counter-attack on the enemy submarine. The attack was conducted so fiercely and relentlessly that the enemy submarine could not carry out any further attack and had to make a retreat.”
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