Helicopter Crash: In Tamil Nadu, the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others were killed in a helicopter accident at Kannur in Nilgiri district on Wednesday. These include pilots of this Mi-17 air force helicopter and senior CDS staff and security personnel. Group Captain Varun Singh, who was the only one seriously injured in the accident, is undergoing treatment at an Army hospital in Wellington, Tamil Nadu. The President, the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Defence Minister along with the top politicians and former army officials of the country have expressed deep sorrow over the death of General Rawat.
The mortal remains of the victims of the helicopter crash, including CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife, were kept at The Military Hospital Wellington in Tamil Nadu. The mortal remains will be taken to the madras regimental centre at Coonoor today and then taken to New Delhi.
Last rites are to be held in Delhi Cantonment on Friday
The last rites of CDS General Bipin Rawat and his wife will be performed at Delhi Cantonment on Friday. His mortal remains are expected to reach the national capital by tomorrow evening by a military plane. The bodies will be brought to their house on Friday and people will be allowed to pay homage from 11 am to 2 pm, followed by a funeral procession from Kamaraj Marg to Brar Square Crematorium in Delhi Cantonment.
Tributes paid to country’s first CDS at Cabinet Committee on Security Meeting
General Rawat’s death is a major blow to the Indian military forces as he was popular among the military forces for his courageous and vocal stance. At the same time, China and Pakistan were considered strong advocates of a strategy to respond aggressively to military challenges. Confirming the death of 13 people, including INDIAN Air Force General Rawat, in a helicopter crash on Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened an emergency meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to review the situation and discuss issues such as the country’s further military strategy and leadership. The CCS meeting observed silence for two minutes and paid an emotional tribute to the country’s top military officer. The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar as well as National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary PK Mishra.
General Bipin Rawat was an outstanding soldier and a true patriot.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to General Bipin Rawat and said general Bipin Rawat was an outstanding soldier and a true patriot. He made a significant contribution to the modernization of our armed forces and security system. His understanding and approach to strategic matters were extraordinary. As India’s first CDS, he worked on various aspects of our Armed Forces, including defence reforms. He had a long experience working in the army. India will never forget their extraordinary services.
Military staff were to address a function of the college
General Rawat had arrived at Sulur Army Base from Delhi on Wednesday morning on a special Air Force aircraft to attend a function of the Military Staff College at Wellington, Tamil Nadu. There he had to address student officers and teachers. General Rawat and his wife were accompanied by five of their security personnel including their staff officer Brigadier LS Lidrider, Lt Col Harjinder Singh in an Air Force helicopter from Sulur base. A total of 14 people including crew members boarded the helicopter. The helicopter crashed in Nilgiri district around 12.20 pm.
Air Force tweets
The news and pictures of the helicopter crash came to light shortly after, but the Air Force confirmed the death of 13 people, including General Rawat, in the evening. The Air Force issued a statement in a tweet saying, “It is with great regret that General Bipin Rawat, Madhulika Rawat and 11 others in the helicopter have died in the accident. The mortal remains of General Rawat and his wife will be brought to Delhi on Thursday and will be cremated with full military honours.
Such an accident took place
According to reports coming from the accident site in Coonoor, the helicopter was flying lower in the densely forested area when it crashed. After the accident, he crashed into a house there and fell on the trees. This led to a fire in the helicopter and most of the people including General Rawat died of burns. As soon as the accident was reported, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin immediately engaged the Collector of Nilgiris and the local administration in relief and rescue operations with the Army.
Accident report in Cabinet meeting
The helicopter crash was reported to the country’s top political leadership while the cabinet meeting was underway in the afternoon. The Prime Minister then immediately asked Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to review the situation and the Defence Minister left the Cabinet meeting immediately. The Defence Minister then held a meeting with senior officers besides the chiefs of the three services and immediately sent Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary, Chief of the Air Staff, to the spot to inspect the situation.
Air Force announces probe
The Air Force immediately constituted a Court of Inquiry and announced an inquiry into the cause of the helicopter accident. General Rawat, who became the country’s first CDS after the Army Chief, took over in December 2019 and was yet to hold a one-year term.
Rajnath goes home and consoles Swajan
Before the confirmation of General Rawat’s official death and the official announcement of the Air Force, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited the CDS official residence and gave the sad news to his younger daughter and tied up the family.