India's defence chief to be laid to rest with full military honours

Published December 9, 2021
Army officers carry the coffin containing the mortal remains of Indian defence chief General Bipin Rawat who lost his life along with 13 others a day earlier in a helicopter crash in Coonoor during a military funeral ceremony at the Madras regimental Center in Wellington, Tamil Nadu, on Thursday. — AFP
Army officers carry the coffin containing the mortal remains of Indian defence chief General Bipin Rawat who lost his life along with 13 others a day earlier in a helicopter crash in Coonoor during a military funeral ceremony at the Madras regimental Center in Wellington, Tamil Nadu, on Thursday. — AFP

The bodies of India's defence chief and 12 others who died in a helicopter crash will be brought to New Delhi on Thursday, where the top general will be laid to rest with full military honours, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said.

General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 12 defence personnel were en route to a military staff college in southern India when the air force helicopter they were travelling in came down near the town of Coonoor on Wednesday.

Only one of the 14 on board survived the crash. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

Rawat, 63, was appointed as India's first chief of defence staff by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government in late 2019. The position was set up with the aim of integrating the army, navy and air force.

In a brief statement in parliament, Defence Minister Singh said the Mi-17 V5 helicopter took off at 11:48am on Wednesday from the Sulur Air Base. The base lost contact with the aircraft seven minutes before it was scheduled to land at a hillside military area at 12:15pm.

“Locals spotted a fire in the forest near Coonoor and rushed to the spot where they observed the wreckage of military helicopter engulfed in flames,” Singh said.

Rawat, who served in the army for over four decades, will be laid to rest with full military honours, Singh said.

The lone survivor of the crash, an air force group captain, is on life support at a military hospital.

“All efforts are being made to save his life,” Singh said.

Opinion

Editorial

21 Jan, 2022

Emergency rumours

ISLAMABAD is once again in the grip of rumours. The latest issue finding traction revolves around a mysterious...
TTP attack
Updated 21 Jan, 2022

TTP attack

MONDAY night’s assault on a police party in Islamabad, which left one cop dead and two injured, marks a ...
21 Jan, 2022

Murree suspensions

ON Wednesday, the Met Office issued a red alert for more heavy snowfall in Murree over the coming weekend, and...
20 Jan, 2022

Too great a divide

THE government’s offer of talks to the opposition on electoral and judicial reforms is a welcome development in a...
Military inductees
Updated 20 Jan, 2022

Military inductees

Giving preference to military personnel for appointments in civilian roles is exposing them to unnecessary controversy.
20 Jan, 2022

Suu Kyi charges

MYANMAR’S ruling junta seems determined to spin a complicated legal web around Aung San Suu Kyi to ensure that the...