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India’s defence chief killed in copter crash

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Indian defence chief Common Bipin Rawat was amongst 13 individuals killed in a helicopter crash on Wednesday, elevating questions over the way forward for navy reforms he was main.

Rawat was India’s first chief of defence employees, a place that the federal government established in 2019, and was seen as near Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 63-year-old was travelling together with his spouse and different senior officers within the Russian-made Mi-17 chopper, which crashed close to its vacation spot in southern Tamil Nadu state.

Modi mentioned Rawat was an impressive soldier and “true patriot” who had helped modernise the nation’s armed forces.

“His passing away has saddened me deeply,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter. “India will always remember his distinctive service.”

Strategic analyst and writer Brahma Chellaney tweeted that Rawat’s loss of life “could not have come at a worse time” when “China’s 20-month-long border aggression has resulted in a warlike scenario alongside the Himalayan entrance”.

Footage from the crash confirmed a crowd of individuals attempting to extinguish the fiery wreck with water buckets whereas a bunch of troopers carried one of many passengers away on an improvised stretcher.

Rawat was headed to the Defence Companies Workers Faculty (DSSC) to deal with college students and college from the close by Sulur air drive base in Coimbatore.

The chopper was already making its descent on the time of the crash and got here down round 10 kilometres (six miles) from the closest predominant highway, forcing emergency staff to trek to the accident web site, a hearth official instructed AFP.

An eyewitness on the scene mentioned he had seen passengers falling from the helicopter earlier than the crash, and that one individual had crawled out from the wreckage.

The only real survivor, a captain working on the DSSC, was being handled for his accidents at a close-by navy hospital, the air drive mentioned.

Rawat was chief of the 1.3 million-strong military from 2017 to 2019 earlier than his elevation to defence providers chief, which analysts mentioned was to enhance coordination between the military, navy and air drive.

Video footage confirmed rescue staff dousing steaming wreckage in a wooded space.

New Delhi is seeking to enhance its navy effectiveness within the face of heightened tensions with China following lethal clashes in a disputed Himalayan area, in addition to its longstanding battle with neighbouring Pakistan.

“He had given an amazing push to the combination of the three providers, so his successor has massive footwear to fill,” retired Lieutenant Common DS Hooda, a former head of the Indian military’s Northern Command, instructed AFP.

“He had a troublesome job… we are going to want somebody to provide the identical impetus that he had given in order that the reforms that he began proceed on the similar tempo.”

Rawat got here from a navy household with a number of generations having served within the Indian armed forces.

The overall joined the military as a second lieutenant in 1978 and had 4 many years of service behind him, having commanded forces in Indian-administered Kashmir and alongside the Line of Precise Management bordering China.

He was credited with decreasing insurgency on India’s northeastern frontier and supervised a cross-border counter-insurgency operation into neighbouring Myanmar.

However on the similar time he was a polarising determine whose willingness to make political statements put him at odds with the navy’s conventional neutrality on the earth’s largest democracy.

He was thought of near the Modi authorities and turned heads final month when he reportedly made an approving reference to “lynching terrorists” within the contested territory of Kashmir.

The Mi-17 helicopter, which first entered service within the Seventies and is in extensive use by defence providers around the globe, has been concerned in a lot of accidents through the years.

Fourteen individuals died in a crash final month when an Azerbaijani navy Mi-17 chopper went down throughout a coaching flight.

In 2019, 4 Indonesian troopers have been killed and 5 others wounded in central Java in one other coaching accident involving the plane.

India’s air drive mentioned an inquiry was beneath approach into Wednesday’s accident.

Military chief Common Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Workers Committee (CJCSC) Common Nadeem Raza on Wednesday supplied their condolences to the Indian nation on the loss of life of Indian Chief of Defence Common Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash, the navy mentioned.

“Common Nadeem Raza, CJCSC & Common Qamar Javed Bajwa, COAS categorical condolences on [the] tragic loss of life of CDS Common Bipin Rawat, his spouse and lack of treasured lives in a helicopter crash in India,” the Inter-Companies Public Relations (ISPR) mentioned on Wednesday.

AFP With further enter from Information Desk

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