Thursday, Jan 20, 2022
Outlook.com
Review

Half A Logbook

A dose of modesty would have been in order when the admiral decided to sit down to write this book

Half A Logbook
Half A Logbook
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Readers are advised to skip the early pages which is a tedious tale of the admiral’s rise from the ranks, with a good deal of name-dropping. If you begin on page 174, you will find an interesting account of the navy’s role in the liberation of East Pakistan. It played a gallant third fiddle to the army and the iaf’s push. The navy had been completely sidelined in the 1965 India-Pakistan war and Adml Nanda ensured it did not happen again. Vikrant and its air squadrons were moved from their home on the western coast to the Bay of Bengal to blockade Dacca. Pakistan’s supply lines from the sea received a blow. The rest of the navy kept the enemy’s fleet tied up in Karachi port. Adml Nanda began his naval career in that city before Partition and used his knowledge of the harbour to advantage.

After retirement, Nanda was hoping to be posted to Australia as high commissioner. Mrs Gandhi had other ideas and put him in charge of the Shipping Corporation of India. My major frustration with the book is that...it ends there. The admiral suddenly becomes very coy. There is nothing here on how he used his contacts in the defence establishment to build a highly lucrative second career as India’s biggest arms dealer with bmws in the garage. There have been allegations of kickbacks. Now there is a story waiting to be told. Finally, I have read the book from the front to the back and I am still clueless as to what the initials in his name—S.M.—stand for.

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