Former Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Radhakrishna Hariram Tahiliani (Retd) passed away on 14 Oct 15, in New Delhi. Born on 12 May 1930, the Admiral was commissioned in the Navy on 01 Sep 50 and served as the 11th Chief of Naval Staff from 01 Dec 84 till 30 Nov 87. A distinguished graduate of the French Test Pilot School and an outstanding pilot, he was the first to land on the deck of INS Vikrant on a Hawker Sea Hawk Fighter on 18 May 61, ushering carrier based aviation into the Indian Navy. The Admiral had commanded the carrier borne squadron INAS 300 during the Indo – Pak war in 1971. His distinguished career included command of INS Trishul and the Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant. The “Greyest of the Grey Eagles” is an apt expression to sum up Admiral Tahiliani’s seminal and vast experience as a stupendous naval aviator. His exemplary vision, catapulted the Naval Air Arm to where it is today. He was instrumental in the procurement of the second aircraft carrier INS Viraat along with its fighter complement of Sea Harrier aircraft.
In Dec 77, he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral and appointed as the Flag Officer, Goa Area (FOGA). Later, he was appointed the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Fleet (FOCWF). His next appointment was as Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Air) at Naval Headquarters (NHQ) which was followed by appointment as the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. In Feb 82, he was appointed as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-IN-C), Southern Naval Command. In Mar 83, he was appointed the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command and subsequently as the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff in May 84.
Admiral Tahiliani retired from the Indian Navy on 30 Nov 87 after a highly distinguished career spanning 37 years. He was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal for his distinguished service.
Post retirement Admiral Tahiliani served as the Governor of Sikkim between Feb 90 and Sep 94. He also helped launch the India chapter of ‘Transparency International’ as a founder member in 1997. He has served as the chairman of the India chapter from its founding until 2010. He was also the chairperson of ‘Balvantray Mehta Vidya Bhawan Anguridevi Shersingh’, a senior secondary school in New Delhi. Admiral Tahiliani was married to Jaswanti Tahiliani. His wife was equally distinguished as the first lady engineer in Mumbai. He is also the proud father of noted Indian fashion designer, Tarun Tahiliani.