Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, whose military victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war led to the creation of Bangladesh, died at the Military Hospital at Wellington in Tamil Nadu on Friday. He was 94.
The Padma Vibhushan and Military Cross awardee, who was admitted to the hospital for some time for "progressive lung disease", had slipped into a coma earlier in the day and the end came just after midnight at 00:30 am, the defence ministry said in a statement.
Manekshaw had developed 'acute bronchopneumonia with associated complications' and was placed under intensive care four days ago after his condition became serious.
The body of one of India's greatest soldiers will kept at the Madras Regiment Centre grounds in Wellington between 1100 hours and 1300 hours on Friday for the public to pay homage.
In a rare gesture, the Centre has decided to accord a state funeral to Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, the Defence Ministry said.
"The government has decided that the rare honour of a state funeral, usually given only to public figures, will be a fitting manner to honour Field Marshal Manekshaw. This is the first time a military person is being given a state funeral," a defence ministry official said.
Union Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju would represent the Central government at the funeral, while a representative of the Chief of Royal Bhutan Army Kinley Dorji would attend, representing the Bhutanese Army.
Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General M L Naidu and a Tamil Nadu minister would also be attending the funeral.
Defence minister A K Antony will not be attending the funeral.
"The defence minister will not be able to travel as it involves a long flight and then a journey by road to reach the place," the official said. He added that the participation of the chiefs of the three defence services was doubtful.
"The vice chief of army staff has already left. The chief of army staff is not in town and will not be attending. The other services will also be well-represented," the official said.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government announced a day's official mourning today. The National flag would fly at half mast throughout the state, an official press release said. Educational institutions in the Nilgiris would remain closed today as a mark of respect to the departed General, the release added.
According to Manekshaw's family members, the body will be taken to a cemetery in Ooty, where his wife was buried.
Image: Manekshaw with former Indian Army chief General NC Vij at a military parade in New Delhi.
Photographs: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images
Also read: An interview with Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw