'Served with utmost diligence', Modi extends condolences to kin of CDS Rawat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat a 'true patriot' who greatly contributed to modernising the armed forces and security apparatus. 
An Indian Air Force helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on board crashed in Tamil Nadu's Coonoor on Wednesday, killing him and 12 others on board. (File photo / PTI)
An Indian Air Force helicopter with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on board crashed in Tamil Nadu's Coonoor on Wednesday, killing him and 12 others on board. (File photo / PTI)
Published on Dec 08, 2021 06:57 PM IST
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By | Written by Avik Roy, New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday extended condolences to the families of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and his wife, Madhulika, and 11 others who died in a helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district.

“I am deeply anguished by the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu in which we have lost Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and other personnel of the Armed Forces. They served India with utmost diligence. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” the Prime Minister tweeted soon after the Indian Air Force (IAF) confirmed the news of the General's death.

Besides Gen Rawat, there were 13 passengers, including crew members, on the helicopter that with the accident near Coonoor, the IAF confirmed. Gen Rawat was on a visit to the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington (Nilgiri Hills) to address the faculty and student officers. 

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The IAF said Group Captain Varun Singh SC, directing staff at Defence Services Staff College, was the lone survivor of the crash involving a Mi-17V5 chopper, and was undergoing treatment at Military Hospital, Wellington.

Posting a photo of himself with the CDS, the Prime Minister said Gen Rawat was a true patriot who “greatly contributed to modernising our armed forces and security apparatus.”

According to the passenger manifest, besides Rawat and his wife, Brigadier LS Lidder, Lt Col Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kr, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja and Havildar Satpal were among those on board. The chopper was being piloted by Wing commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, the commanding officer of the 109 Helicopter Unit.

Rawat had taken over as India’s first chief of defence staff on December 31, 2019, after serving as the army chief for a full three-year term.

As soon as news of Gen Rawat's death poured in, senior ministers and political leaders cutting across party lines expressed their grief and shock over the mishap. 

The mortal remains of Gen Rawat, his wife and other on board personnel are expected to reach the national capital by Thursday evening.

According to reports Union defence minister Rajnath Singh is expected to brief Parliament on the chopper crash on Thursday. He has spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi before paying a visit to Gen Rawat’s residence in New Delhi.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022