India’s military chief Gen. Bipin Rawat was among 13 killed Wednesday in a helicopter crash


India’s military chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, 63 , his wife and 11 others have been killed in a helicopter crash in southern Tamil Nadu state, Wednesday. He was a top aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The air force said one officer, Group Capt. Varun Singh, survived and is being treated in a military hospital. The Russian-made Mi-17V5 helicopter was on its way from an air force base to the army defense services college when it crashed near the town of Coonoor, a hill station. Local residents tried to put out the fire and remove bodies from the wreckage. An inquiry has been ordered into the accident.


Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said Rawat “served the country with exceptional courage and diligence.” Gen. Rawat, a veteran of counterinsurgency operations, was the first chief of defense staff, a position created by the government in 2019. His primary task was to improve coordination among the army, navy and air force. Rawat earlier survived a helicopter crash in 2015 in the northeast state of Nagaland. Some accidents with the Mi-17V5 helicopter occurred in India during last years.