New Delhi: Extending condolences over the untimely demise of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife and other officials in a chopper crash in the Nilgiri Hills, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “I am deeply anguished by the helicopter crash in which we have lost Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and other personnel of the Armed Forces. They served India with utmost diligence. My thoughts are with the bereaved families.”Also Read - PM Modi Wears Unique Uttarakhand Traditional Cap Embellished with Brahmakamal Brooch, Here's All About His R-Day Attire

“Gen Bipin Rawat was an outstanding soldier. A true patriot, he greatly contributed to modernising our armed forces and security apparatus. His insights and perspectives on strategic matters were exceptional. His passing away has saddened me deeply. Om Shanti,” the prime minister tweeted. Also Read - Parade, Parakram And Pride: India Witnesses Many Firsts at 73rd Republic Day Ceremony

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He added,” As India’s first CDS, Gen Rawat worked on diverse aspects relating to our armed forces including defence reforms. He brought with him a rich experience of serving in the Army. India will never forget his exceptional service.”

Union home minister Amit Shah, on the other hand, said that contributions of Gen. Rawat “cannot be put into words”. “A very sad day for the nation as we have lost our CDS, General Bipin Rawat Ji in a very tragic accident. He was one of the bravest soldiers, who has served the motherland with utmost devotion. His exemplary contributions & commitment cannot be put into words. I am deeply pained,” said Shah.

IAF Confirms Gen. Rawat’s Demise

Issuing a statement, the Indian Air force (IAF) had earlier said Gen Rawat died after an IAF chopper crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district. His wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others were also killed in the mishap.

“Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was on a visit to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington (Nilgiri Hills) to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course today.Around noon today, an IAF Mi 17 V5 helicopter with a crew of 4 members carrying the CDS and 9 other passengers met with a tragic accident near Coonoor, TN. With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident”, IAF said in a statement.