Air Chief Marshal Pratap Chandra Lal (December 1916 – August 1982) was the Chief of Air Staff during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.
He served in the IAF from 1939 until his retirement in 1973. He served as the commanding officer of No. 7 Squadron, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command, Vice Chief of the Air Staff before going on to serve as Chief of the Air Staff.
He was the Chief of Air Staff at the time of the pre-emptive strikes that were carried out by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) that marked the formal initiation of hostilities of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
It was under his able leadership, that the IAF won its most decisive victory in 1971 and Dhaka – the capital of then East Pakistan fell to Indian troops – and 93,000 Pakistanis surrendered to our forces. It was the largest mass surrender after the Second World War.
Through a Facebook post, Maj Gen (Retd) Gagandeep Bakshi demanded that P C Lal should be made Marshal of The Air Force.
In 1965 Air Chief Marshal Pratap Chandra Lal was awarded Padma Bhushan for his exceptional performances in the war against China. or exemplary leadership Air Chief Marshal Pratap Chandra Lal was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1972.
He also held some crucial advisory posts after his retirement. Air Chief Marshal Pratap Chandra Lal died in 1984.