IAF helicopter crash: Last rites of Gen Bipin Rawat, wife in Delhi on Friday; deeply anguished, says PM Modi

An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the crash, as per a statement from the Indian Air Force

FP Staff December 08, 2021 22:52:38 IST

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others were killed after an Indian Air Force helicopter crashed in  Tamil Nadu's Coonoor on Wednesday.

The IAF tweeted:

As per ANI, the bodies of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife will be cremated on Friday in Delhi Cantonment. Their mortal remains are expected to arrive in the National Capital in a military plane by tomorrow evening.

Centre to issue statement on chopper crash in Parliament tomorrow

Defence minister Rajnath Singh will brief the Parliament Thursday on the IAF chopper crash in which 13 people, including Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and his wife, were killed. Singh is expected to make a statement in the Lok Sabha at around 11.15 am and in Rajya Sabha at around 12 pm.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Thursday to discuss the situation in Tamil Nadu's Coonoor after the chopper crash. The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Gp Capt Varun Singh SC, Directing Staff at DSSC with injuries is currently under treatment at Military Hospital, Wellington, the IAF added.

Singh is being treated for severe burn injuries at the military hospital in Wellington. He won the Shaurya Chakra in August for his courage in handling his aircraft after it was hit by major technical issues during a sortie last year. He landed his Tejas fighter safely despite the mid-air emergency.

As per PTI and other news sources, the crash took place in the Nilgiris.

The Indian Army released a statement reading: "General MM Naravane and all ranks of the Indian Army express their deepest grief and sorrow over the untimely demise of General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff, Mrs Madhulika Rawat, President DWWA and 11 other military personnel in an unfortunate air accident today on 08 Dec."

"General Bipin Rawat, India's first CDS, was a visionary who initiated far reaching reforms in the Indian military's higher defence organisation. He was instrumental in creating the foundation of India's joint theatre commands and giving impetus to the increased indigenisation of military equipment, a legacy which will be carried on and strengthened by successive generations. Mrs Madhulika Rawat, also the former President AWWA was an epitome of grace whose presence will be missed by everyone. The deceased 11 military personnel accompanying the CDS and President DWWA on the way to Wellington will also be equally missed by everyone. They performed their duties as per the best traditions of the Armed Forces."

Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and all personnel of IAF expressed their condolences on the passing away of India's first Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and Mrs Madhulika Rawat, along with 11 other Service personnel in an helicopter crash on Wednesday.

Follow all LIVE Updates related to the army helicopter crash here

The Navy spokesperson tweeted:

An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the crash, as per a statement from the Indian Air Force.

Leaders from across the political spectrum have reacted to the news of the incident and Rawat's death with shock and grief:

President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted:

Vice-President Venkiaiah Naidu tweeted:

Defence minister Rajnath Singh tweeted:

Home minister Amit Shah tweeted:

Union minister Piyush Goyal tweeted:

BJP national president JP Nadda tweeted:

  S Jaishankar tweeted:

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi extended his condolences:

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted:

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal tweeted:

The RSS tweeted:

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik tweeted:

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla tweeted:

Union minister Jitendra Singh tweeted:

NCP leader Nawab Malik tweeted:

Manoj Sinha tweeted:

Omar Abdullah tweeted:

West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankar tweeted:

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar tweeted:

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari wrote that he was shocked to learn about the incident and was praying for everyone’s well-being.

Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said he was distressed to hear the news of the accident.

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat sent his “prayers for the safety and wellbeing of CDS Bipin Rawat ji, his family and all defence officers who were on board.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi prayed for the safety of General Rawat and all who were on board the chopper.

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan also tweeted on the crash and sent his prayers.

Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Mallikarjuna Kharge said he was deeply concerned about the chopper’s passengers and prayed for their wellbeing.

Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said he was saddened to see the images of the crash and prayed for everyone’s safety.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also sent in his prayers.

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said that he was praying for the well-being of all people who were on board the chopper.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan wrote that he was praying for the well-being of all the chopper’s passengers.

Chief minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma took to Twitter to express his shock:

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted calling it an 'unspeakable tragedy':

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin expressed his shock and said that he has asked officials to extend all the necessary help needed in the rescue operation.

 

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted:

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted:

 

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy tweeted:

Sharad Yadav tweeted:

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma tweeted:

KC Venugopal tweeted:

The Australian High Commissioner tweeted;

The Japanese ambassador offered his condolences:

The DG ISPR tweeted:

The Singapore mission tweeted:

Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netenyahu tweeted:

The Russian ambassador tweeted:

The US embassy released a statement saying: "The US Embassy extends its deepest condolences to the Rawat family and the families of those who perished in the tragic helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu. As India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, General Rawat spearheaded a historic period of transformation in the Indian military. He was a strong friend and partner of the United States, overseeing a major expansion of India’s defense cooperation with the U.S. military. In September, he spent five days traveling throughout the United States as part of a counterpart visit with General Mark Milley to discuss military developments and opportunities to enhance our cooperation with like-minded countries. His legacy will continue on. Our thoughts are with the Indian people and the Indian military, and we pray for Group Captain Varun Singh’s full recovery."

The US embassy tweeted:

"As India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, General Rawat spearheaded a historic period of transformation in the Indian military. He was a strong friend and partner of the United States, overseeing a major expansion of India’s defense cooperation with the U.S. military. In September, he spent five days traveling throughout the United States as part of a counterpart visit with General Mark Milley to discuss military developments and opportunities to enhance our cooperation with like-minded countries. His legacy will continue on. Our thoughts are with the Indian people and the Indian military, and we pray for Group Captain Varun Singh’s full recovery," the embassy added in a statement. General Rawat took charge as the first Chief of Defence Staff of the country in 2019. He was appointed as the head of the department of military affairs, as per NDTV. Before taking charge as the CDS, General Rawat had served as the Chief of Army for three years. He was the fourth officer from the Gorkha Brigade to assume the position of Chief of Army Staff. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted:

Rajyavardhan Rathore tweeted:

Tanuj Garg tweeted:

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