INDIA Loses Its CDS Rawat In A Chopper Crash

INDIA’S first Chief of Defence Staff  General Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat, 63, along with his wife Madhulika and eleven others, died today in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu. After superannuation as the Chief of the Indian Army, he became the first CDS on 31 December 2019. They were flying  Russia made  17V5 helicopter, considered a trusted aircraft used for all dignitary movements including the prime minister. Confirming the tragic mishap, the Indian Air Force (IAF ) said 11 other defence officials have died in the chopper crash along with General Rawat and his spouse. GP Capt Varun Singh, the Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College, is the lone survivor and is undergoing treatment at the Military Hospital in Wellington. The helicopter took off from the Air Force station in Sulur, Coimbatore,  and was headed to Wellington Defence Services Staff college where the CDS was due to deliver a lecture. Political leaders were praying for the well-being of the Chief of Defence Staff. Nilgiris collector SP Amrith told  PTI that 13 of the 14 people on board the helicopter had died. “There is one male survivor,” he added. Rawat, born in Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, in a Hindu Garhwali Rajput family, is survived by one son and two daughters. His father Laxman Singh Rawat was from the Sainj village of  Pauri Garhwal district and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General. His mother was from the Uttarkashi district and was the daughter of Kishan Singh Parmar, the ex-Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Uttarkashi. Rawat was an alumnus of Cambrian Hall School in Dehradun and the St. Edward’s School, Shimla. He then joined the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla and the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’. Rawat is also a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, and the Higher Command Course at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He had an MPhil degree in Defence Studies as well as a diploma in Management and Computer Studies from the University of Madras. Paying tribute to  General Rawat, Defence Minister said he had served the country with exceptional courage and diligence. As the first Chief of Defence Staff, he had prepared plans for jointness of our Armed Forces. Edited by P K Chakravarty

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