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Farewell, Commander – World leaders pay tribute to the passing of CDS Bipin Rawat

The US Embassy in New Delhi said that General Rawat had "spearheaded a historic period of transformation" in the Indian military and was overseeing a major expansion of India's defence cooperation with the US military

The United Nations led the avalanche of tributes that kept pouring in from the world community to mourn the demise of India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his spouse and 11 other armed forces personnel in a helicopter crash on Wednesday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was "deeply saddened" by the death of General Bipin Rawat and expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and to the people and government of India.

"As you may recall, General Rawat served the United Nations with distinction and we fully appreciated that work.  He was Brigade Commander of the North Kivu Brigade of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo (MONUC) in 2008 and 2009," said Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, during the daily press briefing in New York.

Bipin Rawat

Closer home, condolences came from the leaders of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and several other nations of the continent.

"Saddened to hear of the tragic passing of #India's Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat. I had the honour of meeting him in 2019 – a true soldier who put service to his nation above all else. My condolences to his family and the Indian nation for their loss," tweeted Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih along with his picture with the late General.

"Deeply saddened by the tragic demise of Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife, and several defence officials in a helicopter crash. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families & the Indian Armed Forces," said Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister of Nepal.

"Heartaching to learn of helicopter crash in India, claiming 13 precious lives, including the Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and wife. People of Bhutan and I offer prayers for India and the bereaved families. May you find strength to see through the tragedy," tweeted Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister of Bhutan.

Bipin Rawat

Nikolay Kudashev, Russia's Ambassador to India, said his country had lost "a very close friend".

"Russia has lost a very close friend, who played a big role in promotion of our bilateral special and privileged strategic partnership. Grieving together with India. Goodbye, friend! Farewell, commander," tweeted Kudashev.

In a message to his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian offered condolences on behalf of himself, the government and people of Iran.

Expressing grief over the incident, Abdollahian described it as a great loss for the Indian military community.

Bipin Rawat

The US Embassy in New Delhi said that General Rawat had "spearheaded a historic period of transformation" in the Indian military and was overseeing a major expansion of India's defence cooperation with the US military.

"My deep condolences on the deaths of Indian Chief of Defence 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 U.S.-India defence relationship," tweeted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Top US General, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, said he is "honoured to have known General Rawat as a friend from their time as Chiefs of their Army staffs to the present-day" and that he will be missed.

Bipin Rawat

Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India and Bhutan, and General Claudio Graziano, the Chairman of EU Military Committee, also extended their condolences.

Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz and Israeli ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, said that they were deeply shocked and saddened by the death of everyone killed in the helicopter crash.

Bipin Rawat

"General Rawat was a true partner of the IDF and Israel's defence establishment, and contributed greatly to the strengthening of security relations between the two countries. He was expected to visit Israel soon. May his memory and the memory of all the lives lost be a blessing," tweeted Gantz.

Emmanuel Lenain, the Ambassador of France to India, called CDS Rawat "a great military leader" who was a supporter of France-India defence ties.

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