New Delhi : Legendary Army PR personality and ADNI editor PN Kheda passes away. Famous as PRO Army for 17 years and then PR Director for Army, Navy and Air Force, a big Army PR personality Colonel Prem Nath Kheda passed away from this world due to heart attack on 25 January 2024 at the age of 85. He was also a celebrity in the military and a renowned name in psychological operations. He received several awards for ‘Defence Documentaries’ and was in great demand among newspapers and magazines for his expertise in defense analyses.
Colonel Kheda did unforgettable service in the Indian Army for 30 years, out of which he was in the Directorate of Public Relations for 17 years. He started his service with the Army Education Corps (AEC) and took active part in the wars of 1965 and 1971. In 1976, he was elected Major of the Indian Army for the Indian Information Service. During this tenure, he served with several Army Chiefs including General OP Malhotra, General Krishna Rao, General AS Vaidya, General K Sundarji, General VN Sharma and General SF Rodrigues. In 1982, he was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished services and was presented the Army Chief’s Commendation Card by the then President Giani Zail Singh. He did M.Sc. from Punjab, Chandigarh. and received a master’s degree in mass communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Earlier he was posted as PRO Army in the Directorate of Public Relations, Ministry of Defence. He was entrusted with the responsibility of presenting an accurate picture of the armed forces and conducted multiple operations to counter enemy propaganda. He conducted several information campaigns to protect soldiers from the propaganda being spread from across the border. In 1992, he took voluntary leave and took over as PTI TV Chief Executive, following which he started his own production house and defense news agency in 1997. He made three serials – Journey to Success (10 episodes), Asia Defense (6 episodes) and Deployed (17 episodes). In these serials broadcast on Doordarshan, integral aspects of the armed forces and national security were underlined. His Asia Defense News International (ADNI) became Asia’s largest defense news agency, with defense news used by more than 130 newspapers and magazines in the country and abroad.
The CPI(M) also published a monthly magazine, Asia Defense News, which featured exclusive articles and interviews with senior defense personnel and analysis of India’s defense preparedness. Documentaries on these issues include Army Is It Anyway? Are human rights for terrorists only? Kashmir Today, A New Dawn? Includes The Indomitable and Pillar of Peace.Along with his news agency, Colonel Khera also wrote incisive analytical defense editorials for well-established newspapers including Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Times of India, Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, Punjab Kesari, Veer Arjun etc. He was regularly interviewed by journalists from magazines and newspapers for his assessment of the defense situation in the light of international controversies. His famous comment about the highly classified and sensitive report of the US Pacific Command, which placed the ‘capabilities’ of the Indian Army in a delicate context, was – ‘The Indian Army operates in 50 degrees Celsius in Rajasthan and 50 degrees below zero in Siachen. Is. It works in marshy and mountainous areas in the Northeast. The casualty rate of their officers is the highest in the world. This is an apolitical and disciplined army. Its services to UN missions have been outstanding, as evidenced by numerous Victoria and King Crosses. As far as following more protocols is concerned, there is no harm in it, because we Indians are not anyone’s hangers-on, and we believe in equality.
Colonel Kheda headed ADNI till the age of 77, after which he enjoyed travelling. After losing his wife during the pandemic in November 2020, his health began to deteriorate. Still till 22 January 2024, he was active, but he suffered a sudden heart attack and was admitted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital at 3.30 pm. He breathed his last in his sleep on 25th January. Senior defense colleagues fondly called him ‘Moonchonwala Kheda’.