India’s top political leaders expressed grief over the demise of former Principal Information Officer (PIO) to the Government of India I Ramamohan Rao. The veteran Indian Information Service (IIS) officer, Rao passed away on May 13, 2017 after a brief illness, reported news agency ANI. He was 83. His last rites were performed on Monday at Lodhi Crematorium in Delhi. Condoling the death, the vice-president of Congress Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “A veteran of the Indian Information Service, Ramamohan Raoji rose to the pinnacle of his career & embodied the best values of his profession”. Gandhi further praised his contribution while working with the Government of India. “A former PIO to GoI, he worked with four Prime Ministers including my father. My sincere condolences on his passing”, he posted. Earlier, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also took to Twitter after the demise of Rao. He posted, “Shocked to learn about the demise of Sri Ram Mohan Rao Fmr PIO, PIB. A visionary in Govt communication, huge loss for IIS service. RIP.” Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore also took to the twitter and wrote, “Saddened by the demise of former PIO, PIB Sri Ram Mohan Rao. Stellar communicator and a warm human being. Condolences to the family.”
Take a look at the life of veteran IIS officer Ramamohan Rao:
– Ramamohan Rao started his career by joining the Press Information Bureau (PIB) in 1956. In the early phase of his career, Rao worked with the Defence Public Relations Organisation wherein he was part of the Centre’s machinery involved in the Indo-China War 1962 and Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 and 1971, according to ANI report.
– In the War of 1965 in the Western front, Ramamohan Rao handled the delicate task of guiding the western press to the graveyard of Patton tanks – western press was then under spell of the Pakistani propaganda.
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– During the 1971 War, Ramamohan Rao worked with the Army Headquarters in Delhi, while working closely with Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw and facilitating an objective coverage of India’s glorious victory.
– Ramamohan Rao was also closely associated with the Government’s exercise to build the defence structure of the country.
– Rao also served with the United Nations Emergency Force in the Gaza Strip where he did the country proud as its representative in the information domain. He was later offered from the United Nations to join as a permanent employee at New York that he rejected telling them that his own country needed him much more.
– It is Ramamohan Rao, who scripted the concept of defence reporting in the country, which has been continuing on the same lines ever since.
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– GoI recognised extraordinary skills of Rao and elevated him in the hierarchy to the newly created IIS, which he went on to head for seven years.
– In his career, Rao served with all the Prime Ministers since Independence. He has the unique distinction of being PIO and official spokesperson to four PM, including Rajiv Gandhi, VP Singh, Chandrashekar and PV Narasimha Rao.
– Ramamohan Rao was also involved in countering the proxy war promoted by Pakistan in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and assisted in communication operations during the Kargil conflict.
– During his career, once he was questioned for releasing a photograph depicting the Indian paratroopers being dropped at the Battle of Tangail. However, it turned out to be a resounding success as the surrendering Pakistani commander, Lt General Niazi referred to that picture as the one that broke his morale and will to fight.