New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed anguish over the death of General Bipin Rawat, the country's first Chief of Defence Staff.
General Rawat was among 13 people who lost their lives after a military helicopter crashed in Tamil Nadu's Coonoor.
"I am deeply anguished by the helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu in which we have lost Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife, and other personnel of the Armed Forces. They served India with utmost diligence. My thoughts are with the bereaved families," tweeted PM Modi.
"General Bipin Rawat was an outstanding soldier. A true patriot, he greatly contributed to modernizing our armed forces and security apparatus. His insights and perspectives on strategic matters were exceptional. His passing away has saddened me deeply. Om Shanti."
PM Mode said as India's first CDS, Gen Rawat worked on diverse aspects relating to our armed forces including defence reforms. "He brought with him a rich experience of serving in the Army. India will never forget his exceptional service," he said.
Condoling the demise of General Bipin Rawat, President Ram Nath Kovind termed him one of the nation's bravest sons. He said General Rawat's four decades of selfless service to the armed forces was marked by "exceptional gallantry and heroism".
"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 were marked by exceptional gallantry and heroism. My condolences to his family," tweeted Kovind.
"It's deeply painful for me to learn of the loss of lives in the chopper crash. I join my fellow citizens in paying tributes to each of those who died while performing their duty. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families."
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said he was deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife, and 11 other Armed Forces personnel.
"His untimely death is an irreparable loss to our Armed Forces and the country. General Rawat had served the country with exceptional courage and diligence. As the first Chief of Defence Staff, he had prepared plans for jointness of our Armed Forces." Singh said,
"My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this accident. Praying for the speedy recovery of Group Capt Varun Singh, who is currently under treatment at the Military Hospital, Wellington."
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also condoled the death of Gen Rawat. "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," tweeted Rahul Gandhi.
Telangana Governor Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan has expressed deep shock and anguish at the unfortunate demise of the Chief of Defence Staff Gen Shri Bipin Rawat and his wife Smt.Madhulika Rawat, and other army personnel in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
"I am deeply saddened at the unfortunate demise of the CDS Gen Rawat, who is known for his exemplary services to the Nation's security and Indian Army," said Governor Soundararajan.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has expressed condolences over the death of General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash. "The death of Gen Rawat, his wife, and several Army personnel has disturbed him and expressed deep sorrow over the ghastly helicopter crash," said KCR.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy alsoexpressed shock and anguish over the crash of the helicopter. "Words fail to describe the incident that befell on the serving Defence Chief and the State of Andhra Pradesh stands with the nation in this hour of shock and expresses its resolute solidarity," said Jagan.
Earlier, the Indian Air Force confirmed the death of India's first CDS: "With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs. Madhulika Rawat, and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident," IAF tweeted.
A veteran of counterinsurgency warfare, CDS Rawat served in the most difficult terrains including northern and eastern commands. CDS Rawat was commissioned into the Indian Army in December 1978. He previously served as Chief of the Army Staff from January 2017 to December 2019.