|Intro||Indian army chief|
|Was||Military officer Military leader|
|Birth||16 March 1958, Pauri, Pauri Garhwal district, Garhwal division, India|
|Death||8 December 2021, Coonoor, Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu, India (aged 63 years)|
General Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat(16 March 1958 – 8 December 2021) was an Indian military officer who was a four-star general of the Indian Army. He served as the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Indian Armed Forces from January 2020 until his death in a helicopter crash in December 2021. Prior to taking over as the CDS, he served as 57th and last Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee as well as 26th Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.
On 8 December 2021, Rawat died in the crash of an Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopter in Tamil Nadu. He was accompanied by his wife Madhulika Rawat and members of his staff, who were also killed in the crash.
Early life and education
Rawat was born in Pauri town of Pauri Garhwal district, modern-day Uttarakhand state, on 16 March 1958. His family had been serving in the Indian Army for multiple generations. His father Laxman Singh Rawat was from Sainj village of the Pauri Garhwal district and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General. His mother was from the Uttarkashi district and was the daughter of Kishan Singh Parmar, the ex-Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Uttarkashi.
Rawat attended Cambrian Hall School in Dehradun and the St. Edward's School, Shimla. He then joined the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and the Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, where he was awarded the 'Sword of Honour'.
Rawat was also a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington and the Higher Command Course at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. From his tenure at the DSSC, he obtained an MPhil degree in Defence Studies as well as diplomas in Management and Computer Studies from the University of Madras. In 2011, he was awarded a honorary doctorate by CCS University, Meerut for his research on military-media strategic studies.
Rawat was commissioned into the 5th battalion of 11 Gorkha Rifles on 16 December 1978, the same unit as his father. He has much experience in high-altitude warfare and spent ten years conducting counter-insurgency operations.
He commanded a company in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir as a major. As a colonel, he commanded his battalion, the 5th battalion 11 Gorkha Rifles, in the eastern sector along the Line of Actual Control at Kibithu. Promoted to the rank of brigadier, he commanded 5 Sector of Rashtriya Rifles in Sopore. He then commanded a multinational brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), where he was twice awarded the Force Commander’s Commendation.
After promotion to major general, Rawat took over as the General Officer Commanding 19th Infantry Division (Uri). As a lieutenant general, he commanded III Corps, headquartered in Dimapur, before taking over the Southern Army in Pune.
He also held staff assignments which included an instructional tenure at the Indian Military Academy (Dehradun), General Staff Officer Grade 2 at the Military Operations Directorate, logistics staff officer of a Re-organised Army Plains Infantry Division (RAPID) in central India, Colonel Military Secretary and Deputy Military Secretary in the Military Secretary’s Branch and Senior Instructor in the Junior Command Wing. He also served as the Major General General Staff (MGGS) of the Eastern Command.
After being promoted to the Army Commander grade, Rawat assumed the post of General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) Southern Command on 1 January 2016. After a short stint, he assumed the post of Vice Chief of Army Staff on 1 September 2016.
On 17 December 2016, the Government of India appointed him as the 27th Chief of the Army Staff, superseding two more senior Lieutenant Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P. M. Hariz. He took office of Chief of Army Staff as the 27th COAS on 31 December 2016, after retirement of General Dalbir Singh Suhag.
He was the third officer from the Gorkha Brigade to become the Chief of the Army Staff, after Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw and General Dalbir Singh Suhag. On his visit to the United States in 2019, General Rawat was inducted to the United States Army Command and General Staff College International Hall of Fame. He was also the honorary General of Nepalese Army. It has been a tradition between the Indian and Nepali armies to confer the honorary rank of General to each other's chiefs to signify their close and special military ties.
1987 Sino-Indian skirmish
During the 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish in the Sumdorong Chu valley, then Captain Rawat's battalion was deployed against the Chinese People's Liberation Army. The standoff was the first military confrontation along the disputed McMahon Line after the 1962 war.
UN mission in Congo
Rawat commanded MONUSCO (a Multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Within two weeks of deployment in the DRC, the Brigade faced a major offensive in the east which threatened not only the regional capital of North Kivu, Goma, but stability across the country as a whole. The situation demanded a rapid response and North Kivu Brigade was reinforced, where it was responsible for over 7,000 men and women, representing nearly half of the total MONUSCO force. Whilst simultaneously engaged in offensive kinetic operations against the CNDP and other armed groups, Rawat (then Brigadier) carried out tactical support to the Congolese Army (FARDC), sensitization programmes with the local population and detailed coordination to ensure that all were informed about the situation and worked together in prosecuting operations whilst trying to protect the vulnerable population. This hectic period of operational tempo lasted a full four months. Goma never fell, the East stabilized and the main armed group was motivated to the negotiating table and has since been integrated into the FARDC. He was also tasked to present the Revised Charter of Peace Enforcement to the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General and Force Commanders of all the UN missions in a special conference at Wilton Park, London, on 16 May 2009.
2015 Myanmar strikes
In June 2015, eighteen Indian soldiers were killed in an ambush by militants belonging to the United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) in Manipur. The Indian Army responded with cross-border strikes in which units of the 21st battalion of the Parachute Regiment struck an NSCN-K base in Myanmar. 21 Para was under the operational control of the Dimapur based III Corps, which was then commanded by Rawat.
Bilateral visits as Chief of the Army Staff
|Bangladesh||31 March – 2 April||
|Sri Lanka||14–17 May||
|United States||2–5 April|
|30 September – 3 October 2019||
Comments on China
On 15 September 2021 while speaking at an event in the capacity of the CDS at the India International Centre in New Delhi, General Rawat touched upon the theory of 'clash of civilisations' with regards to the western civilisation and China's growing relations with countries like Iran and Turkey. The next day, on 16 September 2021, India's Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar conveyed to his Chinese counterpart that India does not subscribe to any 'clash of civilisations' theory.
In 1985, Rawat married Madhulika Rawat. A descendant of an erstwhile princely family, she was the daughter of Kunwar Mrigendra Singh, sometime Riyasatdar of the pargana of Sohagpur Riyasat in Shahdol district and an Indian National Congress MLA from the district in 1967 and 1972. The couple had two daughters, Kritika and Tarini.
On 8 December 2021, Rawat, his wife and other senior army officers were amongst 10 passengers and 4 crew members aboard an Indian Air Force Mil Mi-17 helicopter that was on its way from the Sulur Airforce base to the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, where Rawat was to deliver a lecture. The helicopter crashed in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from its destination. Rawat's death – and those of his wife and 11 others – was later confirmed by the Indian Air Force. Rawat's liaison officer was the sole survivor. Rawat was 63 at the time of his death.
Honours and decorations
During his career of nearly 43 years, he was awarded for gallantry and distinguished service with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, the COAS Commendation on two occasions and the Army Commander’s Commendation.
|Param Vishisht Seva Medal||Uttam Yudh Seva Medal|
|Ati Vishisht Seva Medal||Yudh Seva Medal||Sena Medal||Vishisht Seva Medal|
|Wound Medal||Samanya Seva Medal||Special Service Medal||Operation Parakram Medal|
|Sainya Seva Medal||High Altitude Service Medal||Videsh Seva Medal||50th Anniversary of Independence Medal|
|30 Years Long Service Medal||20 Years Long Service Medal||9 Years Long Service Medal||MONUSCO|
Dates of rank
|Insignia||Rank||Component||Date of rank|