Following the tragic helicopter crash that took the lives of Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, several members of his family and Army officials, Delhi has become the focal point of mourning, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrivjng to pay his respects to the mortal remains of the deceased defense chief at Palam Airport.
"Paid my last respects to Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and other personnel of the Armed Forces. India will never forget their rich contribution," said the Prime Minister in a tweet. He had earlier expressed his admiration for Rawat and described him as the man who modernised the Indian Armed Forces.
The mortal remains of CDS Bipin Rawat and other Armed Forces personnel, who lost their lives in the chopper crash in Tamil Nadu's Coonoor, reached Delhi at around 8 pm. Some of the family members of the personnel killed in the chopper crash were also present.
DNA testing is to be conducted to identify the mortal remains of the deceased, as only CDS Bipin Rawat, his wife Mrs Madhulika Rawat, and Brig LS Lidder have been positively identified out of the 13 which perished in the crash. The black box of the Mi-17V5 helicopter has been recovered from the crash site in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. Group Captain Varun Singh, decorated with the Shaurya Chakra on Independence Day this year, was the lone survivor and was being treated for injuries at the Military Hospital in Wellington.
Expressing grief over the sudden demise of CDS General Bipin Rawat and 12 others, Rajnath Singh paid homage to the deceased persons and extended condolences to the bereaved families. He also announced that a tri-service enquiry has been ordered by the IAF into the crash.
"Paid tributes to General Bipin Rawat, his wife and eleven bravehearts who lost their lives in an unfortunate accident. I salute their service to the nation," Singh tweeted.
General Rawat, 63, was on his way to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington where he was to deliver a lecture. His wife, president of the Defence Wives Welfare Association, was accompanying him along with members of the CDS staff.