Indian defence chief Bipin Rawat dies in chopper crash - GulfToday

Indian defence chief Bipin Rawat dies in chopper crash

The wreckage of the chopper seen at the carsh site.

Gulf Today Report

Indian Military Chief Bipin Rawat died in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

The Indian Air Force said an army helicopter carrying the country's military chief crashed on Wednesday.

Local media reported that all 14 a board were killed. Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh was expected to make a statement soon to Parliament.

Television images showed the helicopter in flames as local residents tried to douse it.

Local news channels showed a flight manifest that displayed the names of nine people as passengers, including Rawat’s wife and other senior defence officials.

The list of people who were on board the chopper:

Gen Bipin Rawat

Mrs Madhulika Rawat

Brig LS Lidder, SM,VSM

Lt Col Harjinder Singh

NK Gursewak Singh

NK Jitendra Kumar

Vivek Kumar

B Sai Teja

Hav Satpal

Apart from the dignitaries, five crew members were there in the helicopter.
The crash site is in a forested area, which is making access to the site a difficult proposition.

The Indian Air Force said on Twitter, “An IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter, with CDS Gen Bipin Rawat on board, met with an accident today near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. An Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.” 

The incident happened in the Nilgiris, shortly after the Mi-series chopper took off from the army base in Sulur.

The chopper was heading to the Wellington defence establishment.

Bipin-Rawat Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat addresses a press conference in New Delhi. File

Rawat is India's first chief of defence staff, a position that the Indian government established in 2019, and is seen as close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rawat comes from a military family with several generations having served in the Indian armed forces.

The general, who has four decades of service behind him, has commanded forces in Indian-administered Kashmir and along the Line of Actual Control bordering China.

He is credited with reducing insurgency on India's northeastern frontier and supervised a cross-border counter-insurgency operation into neighbouring Myanmar.

The air force said an inquiry was underway into the accident.

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