Udhagamandalam (TN): Defence Minister A K
Antony and Army Chief Gen V K Singh today paid tributes and
laid wreaths at the cemetery of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw on
his 98th birth anniversary.
Paying tributes to him, Antony said he will be an
inspiration to generations of armed forces.
The Defence Minister said the people and the country will
never forget his contribution, particularly the victorious
1971 Indo-Pakistan war that led to the liberation of
Earlier, Antony and Gen Singh laid wreaths on the new
gravestone for the late Field Marshal and attended a prayer
and military memorial service which was attended by LT Gen
Bikram Singh, GOC-in-chief Eastern command and Army
Chief-Designate, and other top-ranking army officials.
Mankeshaw`s two daughters were also present.
The wreath laying ceremony, comprised traditional
presentation of arms by special guards of the Madras
Regimental Centre and sounding of the last post by the band
after observance of a two-minute of silence.
Antony, however, refused to take any political questions
when reporters approached him on the defence procurement
issue. "This is not the occasion to speak much (about it),"
General Singh also declined to take questions from
When asked about request by people to confer Bharat Ratna
on Manekshaw, Antony said, "I am not the authority to decide
about that. Government will take a decision."
On his retirement in January 1973, Manekshaw settled down
in Coonoor, the twin civilian town of Wellington Cantonment,
where he had served as commandant of the Defences Services
He passed away at the age of 94 in 2008 and was laid to
rest in the nearby Parsee Zoroastrian Cemetery in Ooty.
Manekshaw was appointed Field Marshal in 1973 by Indira
Gandhi. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1968 and after the
1971 war, the Padma Vibhushan.