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Indian Air Force (IAF) chief V.R. Chaudhary met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday and gave him a detailed presentation on the CDS chopper crash inquiry report.
The tragic incident happened on December 8, 2021, when a military helicopter crashed near Nilgiri hills in Tamil Nadu, costing 14 lives including Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and other military personnel.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhary went to the official residence of the Defence Minister and made the presentation. A tri-service inquiry was ordered after the crash to probe the reasons of this accident.
It is believed that the MI-17v5 pilot may have been left disoriented by inclement weather and accidentally flown into terrains. This is referred to as CFIT, or Controlled Flight Into Terrain.
Sources said the inquiry ruled out any possibility of technical errors or mechanical defects. The chopper was a Russian made Mi-17V5 helicopter, considered extremely reliable and safe. The crew was led by group captain Varun Singh, a very experienced pilot of Indian Air Force.
The tri-service inquiry was led by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, known as India's top chopper pilot. He served as the director general of inspection and flight safety before. The tri-services probe report has given its findings on reasons behind the crash & made recommendations for the future chopper operations for flying VIPs.
Keywords: Chief of Defence Staff, Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister, Chopper Crash, Presentation, Air Force)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the whole country has been a witness to the hard work India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat was doing to make the country's forces self-reliant.
The Prime Minister said though the country is in sorrow, "even after suffering the pain, we neither stop our pace or progress. India will not stop".
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"Gen Bipin Rawat, in the days to come, will see his India moving forward with new resolutions. The work of improving the security of the country's borders, work to strengthen border infrastructure will continue," he added.
He said the doctors are working hard to save the life of Group Captain Varun Singh "who is a son of Uttar Pradesh), a resident of Deoria. "I pray to God to save his life. The nation is with the family of Varun Singh today and with the families of the heroes we have lost," the PM said.
He said this while inaugurating the Saryu Nahar National Project in Balrampur, Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat were among those present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister said proper utilisation of the water of the country's rivers, and adequate water reaching the farmers' fields, is one of the top priorities of the government. "The completion of the Saryu Canal National Project is proof that when the thinking is honest, the work is also solid".
The Prime Minister said: "We have done more work in the Saryu canal project than what was done in five decades in less than five years. This is a double-engine government. This is the speed of work of the double-engine government... our priority is to finish the project on time."
Gen Bipin Rawat, in the days to come, will see his India moving forward with new resolutionsWikipedia
Also read: Defence And Security Come First
"If it is government money, then why should I care? This thinking had become the biggest obstacle in the balanced and all-around development of the country. This thinking also kept the Saryu canal project hanging."
Modi also listed long-pending projects like Baan Sagar Project, Arjun Sahayak irrigation project, AIIMS, and fertilizer plant at Gorakhpur that were completed by the double engine government of the BJP -- in the Centre, and in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
He also cited Ken Betwa Link project as an example of this government's commitment. The Rs 45,000 crore project was approved in the last Cabinet meeting.
The Prime Minister also said that as opposed to the earlier times when the mafia used to get protection, today, the mafia is being cleaned out and the difference is visible.
"Earlier, strongmen were promoted. Today, CM Adityanath's government is engaged in empowering the poor, downtrodden, backward and tribals. That's why the people of UP say -- the difference is visible. Earlier illegal occupation of land by the mafia was the norm while today, CM Yogi is running bulldozer over such encroachment." (IANS/PR)
(Keywords: Gen Rawart, Modi, CM yogi Adutyanath, Ken Betwa Link project)
Rawat died in the accident of an Indian Air Force Mi-17 aircraft in Tamil Nadu on December 8, 2021. He was travelling with his wife, Madhulika Rawat, and members of his staff, all of whom died in the disaster.
The pilot in command was Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, the commanding officer of the 109 Helicopter Unit, with co-pilot Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh and two subordinate warrant officers making up the remainder of the crew.
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General Bipin Rawat interacting with the Students from Udhampur, J&K, in New Delhi on December 14, 2017.Ministry of Defence(India), Wikimedia
Who is General Bipin Rawat?
During his almost 43-year career, he received the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, COAS Commendation on two occasions, and Army Commander's Commendation for valour and outstanding service.
From January 2020 until his death in a helicopter crash in December 2021, he was the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Indian Armed Forces. He was the 57th and last Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, as well as the Indian Army's 26th Chief of Army Staff, before becoming the CDS.
On December 16, 1978, Rawat was commissioned into the 5th battalion, 11 Gorkha Rifles (5/11 GR), the same unit as his father. He spent 10 years doing counter-insurgency operations and has a lot of expertise with high-altitude combat.-
As a major, he led a company at Uri, Jammu and Kashmir. He led the 5th battalion, 11 Gorkha Rifles, in the eastern sector along the Line of Actual Control at Kibithu as a colonel. He was promoted to brigadier and led the Rashtriya Rifles' 5 Sector in Sopore. He went on to lead a multinational brigade in a Chapter VII operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), receiving the Force Commander's Commendation twice.
General Bipin Rawat reviewing the Army Day Parade, in New Delhi on January 15, 2017.Ministry of Defence (India), Wikimedia
After Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and General Dalbir Singh Suhag, he was the third Gorkha Brigade commander to become Chief of the Army Staff. General Rawat was admitted into the United States Army Command and General Staff College International Hall of Fame during his visit to the United States in 2019. He was also the Nepalese Army's honorary General. The Indian and Nepali forces have a practice of conferring the honorary rank of General on each other's chiefs to highlight their strong and unique military connections.
Sino-Indian conflict in 1987
Captain Rawat's unit was deployed against the Chinese People's Liberation Army during the Sino-Indian combat in the Sumdorong Chu valley in 1987. After the 1962 conflict, the standoff was the first military encounter along the disputed McMahon Line.
Mission of the United Nations in Congo
MONUSCO was commanded by Rawat (a Multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Within two weeks after arriving in the DRC, the Brigade was confronted with a huge onslaught in the east, which endangered not just the regional capital of North Kivu, Goma, but also the country's overall stability.
Myanmar protests in 2015
In June 2015, terrorists from the United Liberation Front of Western Southeast Asia (UNLFW) ambushed and murdered eighteen Indian soldiers in Manipur. The Indian Army retaliated with cross-border raids, with forces from the 21st Parachute Regiment striking an NSCN-K facility in Myanmar. The Dimapur-based III Corps, which was then commanded by Rawat, had operational authority over 21 Para.
Early life of General
On March 16, 1958, Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat was born into a Hindu Garhwali Rajput family in Pauri, Pauri Garhwal district, modern-day Uttarakhand state. For several generations, his family had served in the Indian Army. His father, Lieutenant General Laxman Singh Rawat, was born in the hamlet of Sainj in the Pauri Garhwal area. His mother was a native of Uttarkashi and the daughter of Kishan Singh Parmar, an ex-Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the district.
Rawat went to Dehradun's Cambrian Hall School and Shimla's St. Edward's School. He subsequently went on to the National Defence Academy in Khadakwasla and the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, where he received the 'Sword of Honour' for graduating first in the order of merit.
In 1997, Rawat completed the Higher Command Course at the United States Army Command and General Staff College (USACGSC) in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as well as the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in Wellington. He earned an MPhil in Defence Studies as well as degrees in Management and Computer Studies from the University of Madras during his time at the DSSC. For his study in military-media strategic studies, he received an honorary doctorate from CCS University in Meerut in 2011.
Rawat married Madhulika Raje Singh in 1985. She was the daughter of Kunwar Mrigendra Singh, a former royal family descendant who served as the Riyasatdar of the pargana of Sohagpur Riyasat in Shahdol district and an Indian National Congress MLA from the area between 1967 and 1972.
She attended Gwalior's Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Delhi University. Kritika and Tarini were the couple's two daughters.
Then Chief of Army Staff present Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Mrs. Madhulika Rawat with the Cadets from foreign countries, at the NCC Reception, in New Delhi on January 16, 2018.Ministry of Defence(India), Wikimedia
During Bipin Rawat's time as Chief of Army Staff, Madhulika Rawat was the president of the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA). Upon the inception of the office and the appointment of General Bipin Rawat as the first CDS, she became the president of the Defence Wives Welfare Association (DWWA).
She tried to ensure that the wives of military members were financially self-sufficient. She was also associated with NGOs and social organisations such as Veer Naris, which helps military widows and differently-abled people.
(Keywords: General Bipin Rawat, Army Defence, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Captain, India)
General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other armed personnel were killed after the IAF chopper they were travelling in crashed near Coonoor, in the hilly Nilgiri district in Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday, the 8th of December 2021. General Rawat was India’s first Chief of Defence Staff.
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Then Chief of Army Staff present Chief of Defence Staff- General Bipin Rawat and Mrs. Madhulika Rawat with the Cadets from foreign countries, at the NCC Reception, in New Delhi on January 16, 2018.Ministry of Defence, Wikimedia
The security around the residence of the General has been strengthened as several important dignitaries came to offer their condolences to the bereaved family. The couple is survived by their two daughters – Kritika and Tarini. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Indian Army chief M.M. Naravane and Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar met the family of the General. The family has been serving in the Indian Army for four generations. Madhulika Rawat, the General’s wife, had been the President nof the Army Wives’ Welfare Association. This organisation is one of the largest NGOs working towards ensuring the welfare of the wives, children, and dependents of Army personnel.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin in a condolence message said, “General Rawat left an indelible mark on the course of the US-India defence partnership and was at the center of the Indian Armed Forces’ transformation into a more jointly integrated warfighting organisation...... I had the privilege of meeting with him earlier this year and viewed him as a valued partner and friend of the United States...... I and the [Defense] Department extend our deepest condolences to the Rawat family, the Indian military, and the people of India after the tragic passing of Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash.”
The US embassy in New Delhi said, “Rawat spearheaded a historic period of transformation in the Indian military...... He was a strong friend and partner of the United States, overseeing major expansion of India’s defense cooperation with the US military.”
This crash is not a one-off incident. Every year, tragic incidents like these happen where soldiers lose their lives. At times it is due to an aging fleet or due to technical glitches. In the last few years, there have been 5-10 incidents of transport aircraft crash every year. The Government had stated that every aircraft accident in the IAF is to be investigated by the Court of Inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident. The Indian Air Force has ordered the Court of Inquiry to look into this case also.
The lone survivor of the crash that occurred on Wednesday, Group Captain Varun Singh, is battling for life with 80-85 % burn injuries. He was the Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington in Tami Nadu. The Captain has also been the recipient of the Shaurya Chakra gallantry award. He had recently been promoted from Wing Commander to Group Captain and recently joined the college at Wellington.
Two more people were found to be alive by them, and they took them to the Wellington Army Hospital.Pixabay
From the group of people who had first reached the crash site at Kattari Park in Coonoor, one villager said that General Bipin Rawat was alive when they had arrived. He had even asked for water from them. Two more people were found to be alive by them, and they took them to the Wellington Army Hospital. They also informed that they did not know who the General was when they rescued him, but later identified him when the pictures of the late officer came out.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai, after paying his respects to CDS General Bipin Rawat, said that the late officer had been a strong votary for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in defence production of arms and was instrumental in starting indigenous production of arms and equipment within the country. Apart from innovation and development of modern weaponry systems and equipment, he pushed for transfer of technology to encourage participation of private sector in the defence production. He also added, “General Rawat had shown an unprecedented stand on many issues related to India’s security. His strong posture against China during the recent border stand-off had compelled Chinese troops to retreat. The nation needed his leadership for the years ahead too.”
People had gathered to pay respect to the deceased with chants of ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Jai Hind’.Reuters, VOA
People had gathered at the Sulur Air Force station, where the bodies of the departed had been brought, and paid respect to the deceased with chants of ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Jai Hind’. The Armed forces personnel also paid tributes to the 11 army personnel, the Chief of Defence Staff and his wife Madhulika.
(Keywords : Chief of Defence Staff, India, Army, Air Force, Navy, crash, helicopter, Coonoor.)
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