CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, Wife Dies in Chopper Crash

Published: December 8,2021 06:35 PM

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Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, India’s top most military commander died in a chopper crash today

December 8, 2021: Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, India’s top most military commander died in a chopper crash today.

He was on board the fateful Indian Air Force helicopter Mi-17V5 that crashed between Coimbatore and Sulur in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday afternoon.

General Rawat, 63, took charge as India's first Chief of Defence Staff in January 2019. He was the 57th and last Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee as well as the 26th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. His wife, who was also on board the chopper along with 12 others are dead.

CDS Rawat was on way to Wellington to deliver an address at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Tamil Nadu.

General Rawat had miraculously survived a single engine helicopter crash in 2015, minutes after it took off from Nagaland.

Born in Pauri in Uttarakhand in 1958, General Rawat belonged to a family that has served the Indian Army for generations.

Rawat attended the Cambrian Hall School, Dehradun and St. Edward’s School, Shimla. He then joined the National Defence Academy in Khadakwasla and the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun. He graduated from the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and the Higher Command Course at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Rawat was commissioned into the 5th battalion of 11 Gorkha Rifles in 1978, the same unit as his father. His father, Lt General Lakshman Singh Rawat, retired as the Vice Chief of Army Staff in 1988.

Gen Bipin Rawat commanded a company in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir as a Major. As a Colonel, he commanded his battalion, the 5th battalion of 11 Gorkha Rifles, in the Eastern sector along the Line of Actual Control at Kibithu. Promoted to the rank of Brigadier, he commanded 5 Sector of Rashtriya Rifles in Sopore. He then commanded a multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where he was twice awarded the Force Commander’s Commendation.

After promotion as Major General, Rawat took over as the General Officer Commanding 19th Infantry Division (Uri). As a Lieutenant General, he commanded III Corps, heaquartered in Dimapur. After this he took over the Soutern Army in Pune.

As the Army Commander, Rawat was the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command on 1 January 2016. After a short stint, he became the Vice Chief of Army Staff on 1 September 2016.

On 17 December 2016, the Government of India appointed him as the 27th Chief of Army Staff.

He was the third officer from the Gorkha Birgade to become the Chief of the Army Staff after Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and General Dalbir Singh Suhag.

General Bipin Rawat was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy by Chaudary Charan Singh University, Meerut for his research on military media strategic studies. He was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal and Uttam Yudh Seva Medal for his exceptional services in the Indian Army. He is also an honorary General in the Nepaliese Army.

CDS Bipin Rawat, his wife, defence assistant, security commandos and an IAF pilot were on board the Mi-17V5 chopper when it crashed between Coimbatore and Sulur in Tamil Nadu. CDS Bipin Rawat was en route to Wellington in Coonoor from the Indian Air Force base in Sulur near Coimbatore. He left Delhi for Sulur earlier today.