Wednesday, April 24, 2024

India’s army chief Bipin Rawat killed in helicopter crash

Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his wife were among 13 killed after an IAF chopper they were travelling in crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, his wife were among 13 killed after an IAF chopper they were travelling in crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

“With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that General Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident,” the Indian Force said in a tweet.

Earlier today, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the incident. According to sources, Singh will brief Parliament on the incident tomorrow.

The Indian Air Force said it had ordered an investigation into the accident, which happened in foggy weather. 

The crash took place in the Nilgiris, according to reports. Some injured people have been taken to hospital.

CDS Bipin Rawat, his wife, defence assistant, security commandos and an IAF pilot were on board the Mi-series chopper when it crashed between Coimbatore and Sulur in Tamil Nadu, ANI news agency reported.

“Gp Capt Varun Singh SC, Directing Staff at DSSC with injuries is currently under treatment at Military Hospital, Wellington,” Indian Air Force tweeted.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and other leaders paid tributes to General Rawat.

The helicopter belonged to the 109 Helicopter Unit based at the Sulur airbase near Coimbatore. It was a Mi-17 V5 variant, one of the latest versions of military transport helicopters available around the world. 

Rawat, 63, was appointed India’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff in January 2019. This brought together the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, and Gen Rawat had been in charge of a range of operations including in Kashmir.

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