New Delhi: India’s first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, along with wife Madhulikha Rawat and 12 others onboard died today after a military chopper crashed in the Nilgiris near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
General Rawat was the 26th Chief of Army Staff, and became the Chief of Defence Staff after serving as the 57th and last chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. Apart from holding such popular ranks in the Army, General Rawat had an outstanding career.
Here’s a brief on the life and achievements of Gen Bipin Rawat, a former Army chief who died in service.
Born on March 16, 1958 in Pauri, Uttarakhand, Gen Rawat graduated from the National Defence Academy (NDA) and the Indian Military Academy (IMA), and was also an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, and the Higher Command Course at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Gen Rawat had an illustrious career of over four decades in the defence services. Commissioned into the fifth battalion of 11 Gorkha Rifles of the Infantry on 16 December 1978, Gen Rawat then commanded a company in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir as a Major.
He in his career served the defence force in different capacities over his service including Brigade Commander, and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command.
Rawat has often been credited for being instrumental in reducing militancy in Northeast India. He was also part of the planning for the 2016 surgical strikes, in which the Indian Army successfully carried their operation across the Line of Control and entered the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Before becoming the third officer from the Gorkha Brigade to become the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), he was designated to the position of the Vice-Chief of Army Staff. General Bipin Rawat then took over as the 27th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on December 17, 2016 succeeding General Dalbir Singh Suhag.
After retirement as the Chief of Army Staff in 2019, Gen Rawat in December the same year was appointed the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff, the first joint chief of the tri-services.
General Rawat throughout his long career has been decorated with many honours for his service, including the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, and Sena Medal.