Looking back at four decades of CDS Gen Bipin Rawat's glorious service in Indian Military

New Delhi: 

India on Wednesday (December 8) lost its first Chief of Defence (CDS) General Bipin Rawat in a chopper crash in Coonoor district of Tamil Nadu. General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, and 12 others were onboard IAF Mi-17V5 when it crashed on its way to Defence Service Staff College, Wellington (Nilgiri Hills).

General Bipin Rawat as Chief of Defence Staff

General Rawat is the India’s first Chief of Defence Staff. He was appointed as the CDC on December 30, 2019 and he assumed office on January 1, 2020.

The CDC is the highest ranking military post and General Rawat’s stature had become a veritable symbol for tri-services synergy. 

The appointment of General Rawat as CDC had come just a day prior to him demitting his office at the age of 62. On December 31, 2019, the then Army General Bipin Rawat was to retire from the Indian Army after having served as its chief for three years.

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CDS Bipin Rawat, his wife, all on-board ill-fated Mi-17V5 DEAD

CDS Bipin Rawat, his wife, all on-board ill-fated Mi-17V5 DEAD

The Ministry of Defence had amended the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force rules, to provide for the Chief of Defence Staff to be able to serve till 65 of age, instead of 62 years. 

General Bipin Rawat as Chief of Army Staff

On December 17, 2016, General Rawat had taken over the reins of the Indian Army from his predecessor General Dalbir Singh Suhag. He became the 27th Chief of Army Staff (COAS). 

In a slightly higher than four decades of service, General Rawat had also served as a Brigade Commander, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command, General Staff Officer Grade 2 at the Military Operations Directorate, Colonel Military Secretary and Deputy Military Secretary in the Military Secretary’s Branch and Senior Instructor in the Junior Command Wing. 

General Rawat was also a part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force and has commanded a multinational brigade in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Notably, in 2015, General Rawat miraculously survived a single engine helicopter crash, minutes after it took off from Nagaland. 

General Rawat was a part of many international bilateral visits to places such as Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Russia and the United States. He was also an honorary General in the Nepalese Army. 

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WATCH: CDS Bipin Rawat’s chopper bursting into flames and falling to ground

WATCH: CDS Bipin Rawat’s chopper bursting into flames and falling to ground

The Indian Army has taken most stringent actions against Pakistan under the leadership of General Rawat. During his tenure the Army provided stronger defences along the border with Pakistan, during the Balakot strike carried out by the Indian Air Force in February 2019. 

General Rawat had also managed military affairs along the border with China, following the Doklam standoff that went on for over two months. He ensured better ties between the India and China armed forces by holding regular border meetings, interactions and joint exercises. 

In 2017, Rawat, as an Army Chief, stood up to Chinese PLA at Doklam plateau on India-Bhutan-China tri-junction for 73 days. 

General Bipin Rawat: Accolades and Honours

General Rawat received a host of gallantry and distinguished service medals. He was honoured with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, Sena Medal, and Vishisht Seva Medal

Born on March 16, 1958, in Pauri district in the northern state of Uttarakhand, General Rawat belonged to family that had been serving the Indian Army for multiple generations. His father Laxman Singh Rawat served as the Lieutenant General in the Army.

It was in December 1978, Rawat was commissioned into the Indian Army in the same unit as his father, the fifth battalion of 11 Gorkha Rifles. 

General Rawat was the alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, and the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun. At IMA, he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’. 

General Rawat also completed the Command and General Staff Course at Fort Leavenworth, USA.


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