In a shocking development, India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife have been killed in a helicopter crash. The military helicopter carrying General Rawat, his wife and 12 other armed forces personnel had crashed in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
The Indian Air Force said in a tweet, “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 Air Force said that ‘Around noon today, an IAF Mi 17 V5 helicopter with a crew of 4 members carrying the CDS and 9 other passengers met with a tragic accident near Coonoor, TN.’
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.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) December 8, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Gen Bipin Rawat was an outstanding soldier. A true patriot, he greatly contributed to modernising our armed forces and security apparatus. His insights and perspectives on strategic matters were exceptional. His passing away has saddened me deeply. Om Shanti.”
He added, “As India’s first CDS, Gen Rawat worked on diverse aspects relating to our armed forces including defence reforms. He brought with him a rich experience of serving in the Army. India will never forget his exceptional service.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “I extend my condolences to the family of Gen Bipin Rawat and his wife. This is an unprecedented tragedy and our thoughts are with their family in this difficult time. Heartfelt condolences also to all others who lost their lives. India stands united in this grief.”
Condolences have been pouring in from others.
Deeply shocked by the tragic death of Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, his spouse Smt. Madhulika Rawat, senior officials of the armed forces & others in a helicopter crash in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. pic.twitter.com/6L6sxVtwbh
— Vice President of India (@VPSecretariat) December 8, 2021
I am shocked and anguished over the untimely demise of Gen. Bipin Rawat and his wife, Madhulika ji. The nation has lost one of its bravest sons. His four decades of selfless service to the motherland was marked by exceptional gallantry and heroism. My condolences to his family.
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) December 8, 2021
Deeply disturbed to know about the demise of CDS General #BipinRawat, his wife & other armed forces officials in an unfortunate Mi-17 helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu.
I join our nation in mourning the loss of one of India’s finest soldiers. My condolences to his family & friends. pic.twitter.com/kPskrFre6z
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) December 8, 2021
Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Sh. #BipinRawat and his wife in a tragic helicopter crash. The nation will always be grateful to Gen. Rawat for his service to the nation. Om Shanti ????????
Jai Hind pic.twitter.com/b4qwfAW2Kz
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) December 8, 2021
— Tamannaah Bhatia (@tamannaahspeaks) December 8, 2021
Very sad news & Deeply saddened to hear about the BipinRawat and his wife in a helicopter crash. The nation will always be grateful to Sir Bipin Rawat & his wife Madhulika Rawat & 11 more soldiers ????????????????. Rest in Peace ???????? #Bipin_Rawat #BipinRawatHelicopterCrash pic.twitter.com/mDM6LoPNxB
— Mohammad Shami (@MdShami11) December 8, 2021
???????? Our deepest sympathies to the families of CDS General Bipin Rawat, Madhulika Rawat & others on the helicopter.
— Barry O’Farrell AO (@AusHCIndia) December 8, 2021
Rawat was made the Indian army chief out of turn after the Indian government ignored the seniority of several officers. He had superseded two seniormost generals, Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P M Hariz.
Rawat, an infantry soldier, superseded senior most army commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who headed the Eastern Command and was next in line to be the army chief, besides Southern Command Chief P Mohamed Hariz.