New Delhi: After 43 years in service, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat (63) was tasked with making the Indian military modern and capable of dealing with any emerging security challenges on the Northern or Western borders.
Unfortunately, his life was cut short after a tragic chopper crash on Wednesday in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu killed Rawat, his wife and 11 others onboard the ill-fated helicopter.
General Rawat took charge as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff on January 1, 2020. The position was created to integrate the three services — Army, Navy and Air Force. The CDS is mandated to facilitate integration, ensure best economical use of resources allocated to the armed forces and bring uniformity in the procurement procedure.
As CDS, General Rawat was also the Principal Military Advisor to the Defence Minister on all tri-services matters.
Later, he was also appointed as the head of the newly-created Department of Military Affairs.
On December 17, 2016, the government had appointed him as the 27th Chief of the Army Staff. He took charge on December 31, 2016, after the retirement of General Dalbir Singh Suhag.
He had assured the government that the Army, Navy and Air Force will work as a team and the CDS will ensure integration among the three forces.
He played a key role in ensuring optimum utilisation of allocated budget, ushering more synergy in procurement, training and operations of the services through joint planning and integration.
He facilitated indigenisation of weapons and equipment to the maximum extent possible while formulating the overall defence acquisition plan for the three services.
When he took over as Chief of Defence Staff, General Rawat vowed to work to create more synergy among the three services.
“The CDS is mandated to facilitate integration, ensure best economical use of resources allocated to the armed forces and bring uniformity in the procurement procedure. I want to assure you that the Army, Navy and Air Force will work as a team and the CDS will ensure integration among these,” he had said.
Before being appointed as the CDS, he had served as Indian Army chief for three years.
He was an alumnus of National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and National Defence College. He also attended the Command and General Staff Course at Fort Leavenworth in the US.
During his distinguished career in the Army, General 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 Northeast.
General Rawat had also commanded a Multinational Brigade in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As an Army Commander, he commanded a theatre of operations along the Western Front and was appointed the Vice Chief of the Army Staff before assuming office of Chief of Army Staff.
During the span of 43 years in the Army, General Rawat has been awarded several gallantry and distinguished service awards.