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India military chief, 12 others die in helicopter crash

Military police speak outside Chief of Defense Staff Bipin Rawat’s residence in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday. Associated Press/Photo by Altaf Qadri

India military chief, 12 others die in helicopter crash

Gen. Bipin Rawat, 63, was flying to the army defense services college along with aides and his wife on Wednesday. Their helicopter crashed near the town of Coonoor, which is in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state. Local residents attempted to put out the fire and recover any survivors, but only one officer was found alive. The air force ordered an inquiry into the crash and has not disclosed the cause.

Who was Gen. Rawat? His military career spanned more than four decades. In 2019, he became India’s first chief of defense staff, a new position that united the army, navy, and air force under his command. In 2017, he garnered international criticism for awarding a gallantry medal to an officer who tied a civilian to his jeep in the disputed area of Kashmir. Rawat said the enemy was fighting a “dirty war” and Indian soldiers had to use different defense measures. The office of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted, “The nation has lost one of its bravest sons.”

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Onize Ohikere’s report about the conflict over the Muslim-majority state of Kashmir.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.



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