Lt-Gen K. P. Candeth

Indian army officer who liberated Goa from Portuguese rule

Kunhiraman Palat Candeth, army officer: born 23 October 1916; military governor of Goa 1961-63; died New Delhi 19 May 2003.

K. P. Candeth not only led the assault to liberate the Portuguese colony of Goa on India's west coast in the early 1960s, but also played a crucial role in three wars with Pakistan after independence in 1947.

Commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1936, the no-nonsense, bachelor Anglo-Indian officer also saw action in West Asia during the Second World War. And, shortly before India's independence from colonial rule, he was deployed in the North-West Frontier Province, bordering Afghanistan, to quell local quarrelsome tribes. This experience in mountain guerrilla warfare later helped Candeth in the early 1960s deal with Naga tribals fighting for an independent Christian homeland in India's longest running insurgency, in the north-east bordering Burma (now Myanmar).

But Kunhiraman Candeth earned instant fame for liberating Goa - today one of the world's most popular beach resorts - along with the nearby colonial coastal enclaves of Daman and Diu in 1961, after which he was appointed the region's military governor for two years. Goa remained a Portuguese colony after the British left India and, despite complex diplomatic negotiations lasting 14 years, the colonisers refused to vacate the territory they had occupied since the mid-16th century and return home.

Instead, the Portuguese became more intransigent, wrongly assuming that India would pursue Mahatma Gandhi's policy of "ahimsa" or non-violence that eventually forced the British colonial administration to leave after nearly two centuries of occupation. On 18 December 1961 the Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's patience ran out and he sanctioned military action.

As 17 Infantry Division commander, Candeth took the colony within a day and was immediately appointed Goa's first Indian administrator, a post he held till 1963. Because of Goa, diplomatic relations between Portugal and India remained frosty for decades.

Candeth was born into a middle-class Anglo-Indian family in southern India in 1916, the son of a senior civil servant. In 1928 he joined the Prince of Wales's Royal Indian Military College - renamed the Rashtriya or National Indian Military College after independence - in the north Indian town of Dehra Dun in the Himalayan foothills, where he was highly rated in the classroom and on the playing field. On passing out in 1934, he joined the army and two years later was commissioned into the Royal Artillery. After a series of postings in West Asia and the turbulent North West Frontier Province (then in India), he attended the Military Services Staff College at Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province (and now in Pakistan) in 1945.

At independence two years later, Candeth was commanding an artillery regiment that was almost immediately deployed to the northern, disputed Kashmir state after Pakistan-backed tribesmen attacked and captured a third of the principality before being beaten back by the Indian army. Thereafter, Candeth held a series of senior appointments, including that of Director General of Artillery at Army Headquarters in Delhi, before moving on to command the 17th Infantry Division that participated in the Goa operations.

After relinquishing charge as Goa's military governor in 1963, Candeth took command of the newly raised, agile 8 Mountain Division in the North-east, where he battled, albeit with little success, the highly organised Naga insurgents. During India's third war with Pakistan in 1971, that led to East Pakistan breaking away to become Bangladesh, Candeth, now a lieutenant-general, was the Western Army commander responsible for planning and overseeing operations in the strategically crucial contiguous regions of Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan where the fiercest fighting took place. On retiring a year later Candeth was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India's highest civilian awards.

Kuldip Singh

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor