Tributes are pouring in from around the world after the death of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat.
Australia’s High Commissioner to India Barry O’ Farrell has paid his tributes to India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, who died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday.
“Our deepest sympathies to the families of CDS General Bipin Rawat, Madhulika Rawat & others on the helicopter,” he posted on Twitter, adding that the Australia-India defence relationship had thrived during General Rawat’s tenure.
General Bipin Rawat and his wife were among the 13 people killed after a military chopper crashed in Tamil Nadu.
“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 Indian Air Force (IAF) tweeted.
The Mi-17 V5 helicopter crashed shortly after taking off from the Air Force base in Sulur at 11.45 am, Coimbatore. It was heading to Wellington in the Nilgiri Hills and would have landed in the next ten minutes if it did not crash. Indian Air Force has ordered an Inquiry.
Many world leaders have paid their tributes to General Rawat.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted, “My deep condolences on the deaths of Indian Chief of Defense Staff General Rawat, his wife, and colleagues who perished in today’s tragic accident. We’ll remember Gen. Rawat as an exceptional leader who served his country and contributed to the U.S.-India defence relationship.”
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman remembered his professionalism and dedication to India.
“We remember General Rawat’s professionalism and dedication to India and the Indian Army. Our hearts go out to his family, colleagues, and the people of India mourning the lives lost from today’s tragic helicopter crash,” Sherman tweeted.
The Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain, sent his “heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families & the Indian Armed Forces”.
He said, “Deeply saddened by the tragic demise of CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife, and several defence officials in a crash. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families & the Indian Armed Forces. We will remember CDS Rawat as a great military leader & a supporter of France-India defence ties.”
Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev tweeted, “With deepest regret learnt about sadden demise of Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat & 11 other officers in the helicopter crash today. India has lost its great patriot and dedicated hero.”
General Rawat joined the Indian army as a second lieutenant in 1978. He had commanded forces in Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Actual Control bordering China. He was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff in January 2020.