New Delhi: Vice Admiral (retd) Manohar Pralhad Awati, a Vir Chakra awardee and a veteran of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, died of old age Sunday at Vinchurni village in Maharashtra's Satara district, his family members said.He was 91. Awati had joined the Royal Indian Navy in 1945 after completing his education. He was an expert in signal communication and commanded Indian naval ships such as "Ranjit", "Vendurthy", "Betwa", "Tir" and "Mysore". Awati was awarded the Vir Chakra for his exemplary valour as the commanding officer of "INS Kamorta" during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.
Maritime history was his favourite subject and he was also the founder of the Maritime History Society. Awati is survived by wife Sandhya, sons Kailas and Kedarnath. His last rites were performed at his hometown. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman described Awati as an icon in the naval history. "Vice Admiral M P Awati (Retd) #PVSM, #VirChakra passed away; was the commanding officer of a naval unit of the Eastern Fleet,Dec'71. Captured three enemy ships carrying contraband goods. His actions led to destruction of an enemy submarine. An icon in naval history. My homage," she said in a tweet. Navy Chief Sunil Lanba said Awati's demise marked the end of an era. "Deeply regret to inform the sad demise of Vice Admiral MP Awati (Retd) early this morning, at his hometown Vinchurni, Phaltan, near Satara. He was 91. A giant of a man, one of our tallest heroes and greatest icons. It's truly the end of an era. May his soul RIP Adm S Lanba CNS," he said on the Navy's official Twitter handle.