Defence chief Bipin Rawat dies in Tamil Nadu helicopter crash
General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), died on Wednesday after a military chopper crashed in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. Twelve other people, including his wife Madhulika Rawat, were also killed in the accident, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has confirmed. The crash was reported around Wednesday noon. Here are more details on this.
"With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen. Bipin Rawat, Mrs. Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident," the IAF tweeted.
The crash took place in Nilgiris district, shortly after the chopper flew out of the Army base in Sulur. General Rawat and other officials were headed to the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, to address the faculty and students there. Fourteen defence officials were aboard the chopper and the lone survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh SC, is undergoing treatment at the Military Hospital, Wellington.
General Rawat was born on March 16, 1958 in Uttarakhand. Belonging to a family of military officers, he studied at St. Edward's School, Shimla, and the National Defence Academy (NDA). He also attended the Command and General Staff College in the United States. He was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978.
General Rawat, 63, was appointed as India's first Chief of Defence Staff in 2019. That position was formed to integrate India's three defense forces - the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. He also served as the head of the Department of Military Affairs. He had earlier worked as the Chief of Army for three years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he is "deeply anguished" to learn about the demise of General Rawat and others. "Gen. Bipin Rawat was an outstanding soldier...India will never forget his exceptional service," the PM wrote on Twitter. Earlier in the day, PM Modi had called a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) at his residence in Delhi.