India’s Military Chief, 12 Others Killed in Helicopter Crash
India’s military chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, and 12 others were killed Wednesday in a helicopter crash in southern Tamil Nadu state, the air force said.
It said in a tweet that the helicopter “met with a tragic accident.”
The dead included Rawat’s wife. One officer was killed, according to the air force. He is Group Capt. Varun Singh survived the attack and is currently being treated at a military hospital.
Prasar Bharati of public broadcaster Prasar Bharati stated that the Mi-17V5 helicopter had been on its way to an army defense service college from an air force station when it crashed in the vicinity of Coonoor. This hill station is located in Tamil Nadu. It was unclear what caused the accident.
TV images of the scene showed smoke plumes rising from the debris from locals trying to put out fire and extricate bodies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Rawat contributed greatly to modernizing the country’s armed forces. “His insights and perspectives on strategic matters were exceptional,” Modi said.
Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said Rawat “served the country with exceptional courage and diligence.”
According to the air force, an investigation has been launched into the incident.
Rawat (63 years old) was India’s most powerful official and first chief of the defense staff. This position was created in 2019 by the government. As an adviser to Defense Ministry, he was responsible for the integration and coordination of combat capability of the Armed Forces.
Rawat served previously as the chief of army staff.