General Bipin Rawat, an Indian military officer was a four-star general of the Indian Army. He served as the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Indian Armed Forces from January 2020 which ended in a tragic helicopter crash leading to his unfortunate demise, on 8th December 2021. Prior to CDS, he served as the Chief of Staff for the Indian Army.
Being born and brought up in a small town of Pauri which is now modern-day a part of the Uttarakhand state, did not stop General Rawat from achieving milestones in his eminent army career. He was a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), The United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1997.
From his tenure at the DSSC, he obtained an MPhil degree in Defence Studies as well as diplomas in Management and Computer Studies from the University of Madras. In 2011, he was awarded a honorary doctorate by CCS University, Meerut for his research on military-media strategic studies.
His military career included commanding a Multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well as his battalion, the 5th battalion, the 11 Gorkha Rifles. He was twice awarded the Force Commander’s Commendation and was also bumped to the rank brigadier for the latter. After being promoted to Major General and then Lieutenant General, he took over the southern army and held staff assignments at the IMA in Dehradun. He was further promoted to Army Commander grade, Chief of the Army Staff and finally General.
He never failed to inspire his fellow colleagues, one of them said that “[General Rawat] was passionate about his job and his energy levels really surprised me.” Working an extremely demanding job was not an impediment for Rawat, rather just another obstacle he carefully swerved around, achieving his destiny by remaining motivated and engrossed in his work. His role in the defence service involved a variety of tasks including acquisitions, future planning, concepts and reorganisation, while staying updated on intelligence, operations and international strategic affairs.
Unfortunately, on 8 December 2021, General Rawat, his wife and members of his staff were amongst 10 passengers and 4 crew members aboard an Indian Air Force Mil Mi-17 helicopter flight en route from the Sulur Air Force base to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, where Rawat was to deliver a lecture. At around 12:10 p.m. local time, the helicopter crashed killing all but one of the passengers. Bipin Rawat was 63 years old when he passed away.
During his career of nearly 43 years, he was awarded for gallantry and distinguished service with a plethora of accolades such as the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal and the COAS Commendation. Without him, India wouldn’t be as secure as it is today.
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