An Indian Air Force Mi-17V5 helicopter carrying Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat, along with twelve others crashed in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor on Wednesday morning. The chopper taken off from the Sulur air base was on its way to Wellington in Coimbatore.
PM Narendra Modi expressed his “deep anguish” over the sudden demise of CDS General Bipin Rawat – who was the country’s first Chief of Defence staff. Twelve other people died in the crash of the army chopper which also included CDS General Rawat’s wife, Madhulika. While the pilot of the aircraft has suffered severe burns, is battling for life at a hospital in Wellington.
PM Modi’s tweet read ” I am deeply anguished by the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu in which we have lost Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and other personnel of the Armed Forces. They served India with utmost diligence. My thoughts are with the bereaved families.”
CDS General Rawat was named as first Chief of Defence Staff in January 2019.
“As India’s first CDS, Gen Rawat worked on diverse aspects relating to our armed forces including defence reforms. He brought with him a rich experience of serving in the Army. India will never forget his exceptional service,” tweeted PM Modi.
PM Modi held a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security this evening after the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed about the crash.