Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife were among 13 killed in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, the Air Force said. Sole survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh, is being treated for 90 percent burn injuries, it added.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh condoled the death of the top defence official and said, “Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other Armed Forces personnel in an extremely unfortunate helicopter accident today in Tamil Nadu”.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called the accident an unprecedented tragedy. “I extend my condolences to the family of Gen Bipin Rawat and his wife. This is an unprecedented tragedy and our thoughts are with their family in this difficult time. Heartfelt condolences also to all others who lost their lives,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I am shocked and anguished over the untimely demise of Gen. Bipin Rawat and his wife, Madhulika ji. The nation has lost one of its bravest sons. His four decades of selfless service to the motherland was marked by exceptional gallantry and heroism. My condolences to his family,” tweeted President Ram Nath Kovind.
“A very sad day for the nation as we have lost our CDS, General #BipinRawat Ji in a very tragic accident. He was one of the bravest soldiers, who has served the motherland with utmost devotion. His exemplary contributions, commitment cannot be put into words”: tweeted Amit Shah
General Bipin Rawat was appointed the 27th Chief of the Army Staff in 2016 amid a controversy over his seniority. He had superseded two senior officers to occupy the Army chief’s position. He then rose to become the Chief of Defence Staff in 2019.