India's Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Wife Among 13 Killed In IAF Chopper Crash
India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife are among 13 people who were killed in the Indian Air Force chopper crash reported earlier on Wednesday.
“With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident,” the Indian Air Force confirmed in a tweet.
One member of the staff onboard, Group Captain Varun Singh SC, is injured and under treatment, the IAF said.
The Indian Air Force Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, in the Nilgiris. General Rawat and his wife were on their way to Wellington from Sulur IAF station.
The general was headed to the Defence Services Staff College to address the faculty and students.
IAF chopper crash: Live updates here
General Rawat was appointed India's first Chief of Defence Staff on Dec. 19, 2019. Prior to that, he served as Chief of the Army Staff from Dec. 31, 2016. A graduate of the National Defence Academy, he began his service in the armed forces in December 1978 when he was commissioned into the Fifth Battalion of the Eleventh Gorkha Rifles of the Infantry.
Over a 43-year career, he has served across a large number of conflict and combat situations as well as held important instructional and administration posts.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed sorrow on General Rawat's death.
Tthe Cabinet Committee on Security was scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, according to government broadcaster Doordarshan News. The committee comprises PM Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
The defence minister will brief parliament about the crash on Thursday.