New Delhi-On one hand, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, who was killed along with his wife and 11 armed forces personnel in a helicopter crash near Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday, was cremated with full military honors in Delhi today. And on the other hand, the Indian Air Force today initiated a Court of Inquiry into the crash that saw a Mi-17VH helicopter going down in fire, killing 13 of its 14 passengers, including the decorated General Rawat.
The inquiry would be held into the reasons behind this accident. Defence officials have already retrieved the Flight Data Recorder of the chopper, also called the “Black Box”, which is expected to shed significant light on the events that led to this tragedy.
Earlier today, the mortal remains of General Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 Defence personnel were brought from Tamil Nadu to Delhi’s Palam airbase. After General Rawat and his wife’s remains were taken to their official residence in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, NSA Ajit Doval and the three service chiefs – Army Chief General M.M. Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, paid their tributes to the deceased. An official condolence statement from the US called General Rawat a “strong proponent of the US-India defence partnership.” Tributes poured in for the brave General from more than 20 countries, including France, Russia, Israel, UK and Australia, which speaks volumes about the remarkable 43-year-long career of General Rawat.
Meanwhile, the lone survivor of the crash, IAF Group Captain Varun Singh, has been shifted to Bengaluru from Wellington, where he was visited upon by Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai and Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot.
Photo- Social media