New Delhi, Nov 4 (PTI) Vice Admiral (retired) M P Awati, who commanded a naval unit of the Eastern Fleet in the 1971 India-Pakistan war and whose actions led to the destruction of an enemy submarine, passed away at his hometown near Satara in Maharashtra Sunday, the Navy said.

Awati, a Vir Chakra recipient, was 91.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman described Awati as an icon in the naval history.

“Vice Admiral M P Awati (Retd) #PVSM, #VirChakra passed away; was the commanding officer of a naval unit of the Eastern Fleet, Dec’71. Captured three enemy ships carrying contraband goods. His actions led to destruction of an enemy submarine. An icon in naval history. My homage,” Sitharaman said in a tweet.

Navy Chief Sunil Lanba said Awati’s demise marked the end of an era.

“Deeply regret to inform the sad demise of Vice Admiral MP Awati (Retd) early this morning, at his hometown Vinchurni, Phaltan, near Satara. He was 91. A giant of a man, one of our tallest heroes and greatest icons. It’s truly the end of an era. May his soul RIP Adm S Lanba CNS,” he said on the Navy’s official Twitter handle.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.