The air force stated that India’s military chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others were killed in a chopper crash in southern Tamil Nadu state on Wednesday. The chopper “met with a tragic accident,” it stated in a tweet.
Rawat’s wife was among the dead. Another officer, Group Capt. Varun Singh, survived and is being treated at a military hospital, according to the air force.
The Russian-made Mi-17V5 plane crashed in Coonoor, a hill station in TamilNadu, while on its route from an air force base to the army defence services college, according to the air force.
The reason behind the crash remained unknown at the time. Local neighbours scrambled to put out the fire and recover bodies from the rubble as television photos from the scene of the crash displayed plumes of smoke rising from the debris.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked about Rawat’s significant contribution to upgrading the country’s military forces. “His strategic thoughts and perspectives were remarkable,” Modi stated.
Rawat “served honourably with extraordinary courage and diligence,” according to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, expressed his sympathies over the “tragic demise” of Rawat and his wife. According to the Air Force, an investigation into the mishap has been initiated.
Rawat, 63, was the Indian military’s highest-ranking officer and the country’s first chief of defence staff, a position established by the state in 2019. He also served as a consultant to the Ministry of Defense.
Rawat’s first order of business was to restructure the military, which had been struggling to modernise along with enhancing coordination between the army, navy, and air force.
Source: CTV News