Thirteen out of 14 people, including Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, were killed when an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter crashed in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor, India on Wednesday.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) announced on Twitter that 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.

Indian news agency ANI had earlier tweeted about the crash, saying that 14 people in total were on board the chopper, including the Indian defence assistant, IAF pilots, and security commandos.

IAF further tweeted that an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

General Bipin Rawat, who died in a helicopter crash on Wednesday, was India’s most senior defence official.

He was appointed as the country’s first chief of defence staff (CDS) in 2020 and previously served as the chief of India’s one-million strong army.

The 63-year-old had the reputation of being a tough soldier and an inspiring commander, who sometimes sparked controversy with his comments on political developments.

Gen Rawat was born on 16 March 1958 in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand.

His father was a lieutenant general in the Indian Army and his mother was the daughter of a politician.

A top student during his military training, Gen Rawat was awarded the “Sword of Honour” at the National Defence College and the Indian Military Academy.

He also completed a training course with the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Pakistan military leadership expressed condolence

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Pakistan CJCSC-Pakistan General Nadeem Raza and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed condolence on the tragic death of General Bipin Rawat, his wife.

According to ISPR, CJCSC and COAS also expressed condolence on the loss of precious lives in a helicopter crash in India.

Air Chief Marshal Pakistan Air Force Chief of the Air Staff Pakistan Air Force Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu has expressed his condolences on the tragic death of Indian CDS Gen Bipin Rawat, his spouse, and 11 other passengers/crew members in the helicopter crash.

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