US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday (local time) condoled the sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat in a helicopter crash.
"My deep condolences on the deaths of Indian Chief of Defense Staff General Rawat, his wife, and colleagues who perished in today's tragic accident. We'll remember Gen Rawat as an exceptional leader who served his country and contributed to the US-India defense relationship," tweeted Blinken.
He tweeted in response to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's message who said that both of them (Jaishankar and Rawat) worked closely and his death is a huge loss for India.
"Deeply shocked at tragic demise of CDS General Bipin Rawat and his wife. We worked closely together in the last few years. It is a huge loss to the nation," tweeted Jaishankar.
The sad news was confirmed by Indian Air Force today through their official Twitter handle that read, "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."
The helicopter crashed around noon shortly after it took off from the Air Force base in Sulur, Coimbatore, for Wellington in the Nilgiri Hills. The General was heading to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course on Wednesday.
A veteran of counterinsurgency warfare, CDS Rawat served in the most difficult terrains including northern and eastern commands.
CDS Rawat was commissioned into the Indian Army in December 1978. He previously served as Chief of the Army Staff from January 2017 to December 2019. (ANI)