Ex-Defence Minister K C Pant dies; Antony expresses profound grief
Defence Minister A K Antony today expressed profound grief at the passing away of K C Pant, who died of cardiac arrest at his residence here this morning.
The cremation took place in the afternoon, his family said.
Pant,81, was Defence Minister from 1987 to 1989.
In his condolence message, Mr Antony said Pant would be fondly remembered for having steered the Defence Ministry at one of the most critical junctures of India's history.
"The contribution of Mr Pant will be fondly remembered by the countrymen. Mr Pant steered the Ministry at one of the most critical junctures of history as the Indian Peace Keeping Forces were deployed in Sri Lanka as a stepping stone to the tortuous journey for peace in the island nation," the condolence message said.
He said Indian troops were also deployed at short notice in the Maldives to abort a coup attempt, in a clear manifestation of India's commitment to promotion of peace and stability in the South Asian Region.
The Defence Minister said Pant bolstered the Indian Armed Forces in a big way with the acquisition of India's flagship aircraft-carrier INS Viraat and Mig-29 aircraft among many other acquisitions during his tenure as the Defence Minister.
He was also instrumental in setting up of the first Coast Guard Air Station at Daman, Mr Antony added.