June 27, 2008 / 7:34 AM / 11 years ago

War hero Sam Manekshaw dies

File photo of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, India's former army chief. REUTERS/Picture courtesy Indian Army Website http://indianarmy.nic.in

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s former army chief Sam Manekshaw, considered one of the country’s greatest war heroes whose victory over Pakistan in 1971 helped create Bangladesh, has died in hospital, officials said on Friday. He was 94.

Manekshaw fought for the British forces in the Second World War in Burma (now Myanmar), where he survived serious injuries while battling Japanese forces as a young captain.

His military career spanned four decades and through five wars and he was conferred the highest rank of “field marshal” of the India’s army.

He was considered a master tactician and was honoured for crafting the country’s victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

“He was also one of the most decorated officers of the Indian Army,” A.K. Antony, India’s defence minister said in a statement.

“In his demise, the nation has lost a great soldier, a true patriot and a noble son.”

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