India’s first Chief of Defence Staff and longest-serving four-star officer General Bipin Rawat, known as the transformer in the Indian military’s higher defence organisation, passed away on Wednesday after a helicopter carrying him crashed in Tamil Nadu.
CDS Rawat was instrumental in creating foundation of India’s joint theatre commands, a major reform in Indian military establishment since Independence and also for changing the way the Army had been functioning for many decades. Rawat was on a visit to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course when his chopper crashed near Coonor in Nilgiris district. He was accompanied by his wife and 12 other security personnel.
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. He took charge of Chief of Defence Staff on January 2020.
He was commissioned to the Fifth Battalion, the Eleventh Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army in December 1978, from Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, where he was awarded the Sword of Honour.
With vast experience in operations across a wide spectrum of conflict and terrain profiles, CDS Rawat commanded an infantry battalion, along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, a Rashtriya Rifles Sector, an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley and a Corps in the North East.
He also commanded a Multinational Brigade, in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). As an Army commander, he commanded a theatre of operations along the Western Front.
CDS Rawat was a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command and National Defence College courses and, has attended the Command and General Staff Course at Fort Leavenworth, USA.
During the span of over 41 years in the Army, General Rawat was awarded several gallantry and distinguished service awards. These include the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM), Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), Yudh Seva Medal (YSM), Sena Medal (SM), Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) and the COAS Commendation on two occasions and the Army Commander’s Commendation.
Whilst serving with the United Nations, he was twice awarded the Force Commander’s Commendation.
Watch: Gen Bipin Rawat’s memorable speech at Kargil Vijay Diwas
The officer has penned numerous articles on National Security and Leadership, which were published in various journals and publications.
CDS Rawat was awarded M Phil in Defence Studies from Madras University. He also holds two Diplomas, in Management and Computer Studies respectively.
General Bipin Rawat completed his research on military media strategic studies and was awarded Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D) from Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut.
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