Tuesday, January 18

India mourns as Chief of Defence Staff dies in Helicopter crash

By: Abhijit Ray, Kolkata, India 

India has lost its Chief of Defence staff General Bipin Rawat in a Helicopter crash on Thursday morning.

The horrific incident took place after the Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed down in the Nilgiri hills near Coornoor city, Tamil Nadu. 

The Daily Vendor Newspaper learnt that with him at the time of the crash were his wife and other 11 military personnel who also died.  

He was aged 63 and was holding the position of India’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff from January 2019. This position brought together the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Airforce and General Rawat was in charge of a range of operations. 

He was one of the top heroes of the surgical strike against Pakistan and also he was the first army commander of the country. 

His wife Mrs Madhulika was also in the MI-17 helicopter with him and she also died in the accident. 11 out of the 14 people in the helicopter died in the crash. 

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Bipin Rawat was born on March 16, 1956 in Pauri, Uttarakhand to a warrior family. After completing his schooling in Dehradun and Shimla, he joined the National Defense Academy. He started his career in the army from the Gorkha Regiment on 16 December 1966. Since then, he has been in charge of military units in various states of the country, including Kashmir. 

Not only that, he also took part in the peacekeeping operation in Congo on behalf of the United Nations. For his bravery and perseverance in duty, his uniform includes the Absolute Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Medal, the Most Distinguished Service Medal, the War Service Medal and the Best War Service Medal. 

Rawat, a counter-insurgency expert, took over as Indian Army Chief on December 16, 2016. After retiring in 2019, he was appointed as the first army commander of the country. 

However, the best feather of his crown is the surgical strike in Myanmar in 2015. Under his leadership, Indian special commandos entered the NSCN (Khaplang) camp of the Naga militant group in Myanmar. 

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Rawat’s knowledge of his own abilities and of militant activity in Northeast India was infinite. 

In Dimapur, a small hill town in Nagaland, Rawat was in charge of the army’s third corps. He was in charge of the 21 Para Special Forces of the Army Special Commando Force. 

That is why after the militant attack in Manipur, the then army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag relied on Rawat to retaliate against the Naga militants. 

The Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Damodordas Modi expressed deep grief over the demise of Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife and military personnel. The nation pays homage for this great loss.

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