The funeral procession of late Indian chief of defence staff general Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat in New Delhi on December 10, 2021. (ANI Photo/Amit Sharma)
GENERAL Bipin Rawat, India’s first chief of defence staff who died in a helicopter crash along with his wife and 11 personnel in a forest area of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday (8), was cremated with full military honours at the Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment on Friday (10). His wife was also cremated and the last rites were performed by their daughters Kritika and Tarini.
Rawat, who took over as the chief of defence staff in January last year, was accorded a 17-gun salute and Last Post and Rouse was played by tri-service buglers, as per the military protocols.
Among several dignitaries who were present on the occasion are Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, Defence Research and Development Organisation chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy, defence attaches of various countries, French ambassador in India Emmanuel Lenain and British high commissioner in India Alex Ellis.
People from various walks of life joined the Rawats’ funeral procession as it proceeded towards the crematorium to pay the late couple the final tributes.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi paid his final respects to the Rawats and the 11 personnel at the Palam air base in Delhi after their mortal remains were brought to the Indian capital.
Earlier in the day, Indian defence minister Amit Shah, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and other ministers went to the residence of Rawat to pay their respects.
Top opposition leaders such as Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge and those from other parties also laid wreaths on the mortal remains of the Rawats.
Group captain Varun Singh is the lone survivor of the crash and is undergoing treatment at Command Hospital in Bengaluru in Tamil Nadu’s neighbouring state of Karnataka.
Meanwhile, a former officer of the Pakistani Army condoled the death of Rawat on a tweet posted by India’s former war veteran brigadier RS Pathania. He said in Punjabi, “Dushman maray te khushian na manawoo, kadday sajna v mar jaana (Don’t celebrate the deaths of your enemies as some day, friends would also die).”