The Chief of India's defence forces, General Bipin Rawat, his wife and eleven others were killed in a helicopter crash earlier this month (Dec 2021).


India's most senior military official. General Bipin Rawat and 12 others, including his wife Madhulika Rawat, were killed when their helicopter crashed in southern Tamil Nadu state on Wednesday, 8 December. Key points:

The aircraft was a Russian-made Mi-17V5 helicopter. It is the same type of helicopter widely used in India by the Army and ministers when visiting defence locations.

The helicopter was on its way to the Army Defence Services College when it crashed near Coonoor, a hill station in Tamil Nadu. 

The reason for the crash was not immediately known, but the Indian Air Force has ordered an inquiry into the accident.

Only one person, Group Captain Varun Singh, survived the crash. He is being treated in a military hospital.

General Rawat, 63, was India's first chief of defence staff, a position created by the Indian Government in 2019.

Rawat had previously served as chief of the Indian Army and commanded forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir and China's frontier.

He was a veteran of counterinsurgency operations.

In November, he triggered controversy by saying that Kashmir residents were offering to 'lynch terrorists themselves' and that it was a 'very positive sign'.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said General Rawat had contributed significantly to modernizing the country's armed forces.

Archrival Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, expressed his condolences.

General Rawat survived an earlier helicopter crash in the northeast state of Nagaland in 2015.



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Dec 2021 ABC Australia India's military chief General Bipin Rawat and 12 others killed in helicopter crash