Pratap Chandra Lal

Air Chief Marshal Pratap Chandra Lal (December 1916 – August 1982) was the Chief of Air Staff (India) of the Indian Air Force during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. He served in the IAF from 1939 until his retirement in 1973. He was the CO of No. 7 Squadron, AOC-in-C of Western Command, Vice Chief of the Air Staff before going on to head the IAF. He was the Chief of Air Staff at the time of Operation Chengiz Khan, the preemptive 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.

During the Second World War, Lal was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for the hours spent flying reconnaissance sorties over the Irrawaddy plains in Burma.[1] He received the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan.[2]

ACM P C Lal also served as the Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Chairman of Air India.

He embarked on writing his memoirs My Years with the IAF, but died before completing them. His wife Mrs. Ela Lal finished the book and published it in 1983.


Military offices
Preceded by
Arjan Singh
Chief of the Air Staff (India)
Succeeded by
Om Prakash Mehra

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