Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid his last respects to Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and other 11 armed force personnel who lost their lives in a chopper crash in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday and said that the country will never forget their rich contribution.
The Prime Minister visited Palam airbase to pay his last respects. “Paid my last respects to Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and other personnel of the Armed Forces. India will never forget their rich contribution,” tweeted PM Modi. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Union Minister Smriti Irani also visited Palam airbase and paid their respects to Gen Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and other 11 armed force personnel who lost their lives in the helicopter crash. The three service chiefs – Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari also paid their respects.
The last rites of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat, who died in a chopper crash in Tamil Nadu, will be held on Friday around 5 pm at Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment.
The last rites of Gen Rawat will be performed with full military honours. The funeral procession will start from Kamraj Marg after 2 PM and reach Brar Square crematorium.
The Army said that civilians can pay tributes to CDS General Bipin Rawat from 1100-1230 hours at his Kamraj Marg residence tomorrow while the military personnel can pay respects between 1230-1330 hours. The mortal remains of Gen Rawat and others who lost their lives in the Tamil Nadu chopper crash were brought on Thursday evening to Palam Airbase in Delhi from Sulur in caskets wrapped in the Tricolour. The mortal remains were earlier in the day brought to Madras Regimental Centre from Military Hospital, Wellington in Nilgiris district and then taken to Sulur airbase.
Apart from General Rawat and his wife, his Defence Adviser Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder and Staff Officer Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh also died in the crash. Other nine defence forces personnel who died in the chopper crash are Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar and Lance Naik B Sai Teja. Group Captain Varun Singh, who is the lone survivor from the crash, has been shifted to Air Force Command hospital at Bengaluru for further treatment.
The mortal remains of Gen Rawat will be taken in a gun carriage for the funeral in Delhi Cantt Brar Square.
The Defence Minister, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, three service chiefs and other senior military officials will be among those present at the cremation of Gen Rawat.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami are also likely to be present.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Governor of Telangana and Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan visited Madras Regimental Centre in Wellington on Thursday and paid floral tributes to General Rawat and others who had died in the chopper crash.The Centre has ordered a ‘tri service’ inquiry into the accident. The i inquiry will be headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command.
The Defence Minister, who briefed Parliament about the chopper crash, said the IAF helicopter lost contact with the Sulur airbase control room at around 12.08 pm after taking off from there at 11.48 am.