Governors, chief ministers and other dignitaries of the northeastern states on Wednesday condoled the death of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 other defence personnel in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu.
The country’s first CDS was among the 13 people killed in the Indian Air Force helicopter crash near Coonoor in the southern state apparently due to foggy weather conditions. He was on a visit to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the staff course.
Condolences poured in from across the eight northeastern states, with chief ministers and governors remembering the contributions of General Rawat.
“General Bipin Rawat was one of India’s finest military officers and an enormously gifted strategic mind. With his demise we’ve lost a stalwart. My condolences to Gen Rawat’s family for his loss and that of his wife Smt Madhulika Rawat. Prayers for other bereaved families as well,” Assam Chief Minister and Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Assam and Nagaland Governor Jagdish Mukhi, in his condolence message, said General Rawat was a towering personality and a powerful voice who played a crucial role in the country’s defence.
“I join the nation in lamenting the unprecedented tragedy and extend my deepest condolences to all the bereaved families in this hour of grief. With General Rawat’s death, the country has lost an able son, who was out and out a true patriot,” the Governor said.
His death is an irreparable loss to the nation and his outstanding service to the armed forces shall always be remembered with gratitude, he said.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio expressed shock over the incident.
“I am shocked and saddened by the news of the tragic accident which led to the demise of Gen. Bipin Rawat, Mrs. Madhulika Rawat and eleven other persons on board. I extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved families. May the departed souls RIP,” he tweeted.
Rio’s Tripura counterpart Biplab Deb said in a Twitter post, “My deepest condolences on the unfortunate demise of Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other Armed Forces personnel. Praying to God to give strength to bereaved families to bear this tragic loss. Om Shanti!”
“I am deeply anguished by the sudden demise of CDS, General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other Armed Forces personnel in an unfortunate helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu. The nation has lost one of its bravest sons. My thoughts and prayers with bereaved families,” Tripura Governor S N Arya tweeted.
Arunachal Pradesh Governor Brig (Retd) Dr B D Mishra, who had shared a close relationship with General Rawat, said that with the death of the CDS, India has lost a great patriot, strategist, gallant soldier and an outstanding General.
“General Rawat as the Chief of the Army Staff and as the Chief of the Defence Staff, had taken many revolutionary steps to raise the capability, credibility, fighting ability and deterrence values of the Army and the strategic integration of the various arms and services of the Indian Armed Forces.
“He always stressed on optimum use of resources and initiated several exceptional austerity measures. As the CDS, General Rawat started the innovative concept of ‘Integrated Battle Groups’ and more importantly the ‘Theatre Command’,” the governor said in a statement.
Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu prayed for peace to the departed souls.
“Extremely saddened by the heart wrenching news of sad demise of CDS Gen Bipin Rawat Ji, his wife Madam Madhulika Rawat Ji and 11 other defence personnel on board today’s ill-fated chopper. I join entire nation in mourning the loss of brave souls. May the departed attain sadgati (salvation),” Khandu tweeted.
“I join the entire nation in mourning the loss of our 1st CDS, Gen. Bipin Rawat ji in the unfortunate accident today that also claimed his wife & 11 defence personnel. My heart goes out to the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy. May God grant the souls eternal rest,” Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma tweeted.
His Sikkim counterpart Prem Singh Tamang said that General Rawat will always be remembered for his exemplary services.
“Deeply saddened by the untimely demise of CDS, Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and staff who were onboard the IAF Mi-17 that unfortunately crashed in Tamil Nadu. One of the bravest soldiers of our country, he will always be remembered for his exemplary service,” he tweeted.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga said in a Twitter post, “#Mizoram mourns the sad demise of The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat ji, Madam Smt. Madhulika Rawat and all the armed forces personnel on board the ill-fated helicopter. May Almighty God comfort all their loved ones in this trying time.”
“Deeply pained to hear that CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat, Mrs. Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board the helicopter have died in the unfortunate accident today. My deepest condolences to the bereaved families. May their soul rest in peace. Om Shanti!” Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh tweeted.
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