Boots will be hard to fill


India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat whom we lost in a chopper crash on Wednesday in Coonoor shall always be remembered as a bold, daring, visionary, reformist, highly professional, true patriot and enemy’s nightmare soldier. He was a highly decorated General and considered as an authority on counter insurgency operations. He commandeered surgical strikes in Myanmar after insurgents had martyred some Indian soldiers in Manipur. He shall be remembered also for planning 2016 surgical strikes across the LoC taking the revenge of martyrdom of 19 Indian soldiers in Uri Kashmir. If it is said that the boots will be hard to fill looking to his enormous qualities and professional dexterity, particularly his role to coordinate between the three wings of the armed forces, it will not be any overstatement. Whether in peace or in war, the Indian brave hearts give all their best including even the most precious lives which makes them unique to be held in highest esteem. In the commitment of Gen. Rawat lay his goal of ensuring that the three wings of the Defence system worked as a cohesive team. An alumnus of National Defence Academy, Defence Services Staff College Wellington and National Defence College, he had served the Chief of staff of the Army for three years and looking to his calibre and sheer professionalism, he was elevated to the position of the Chief of Defence Services early last year. It was only he who repeatedly had been saying that our armed forces could simultaneously very effectively face and fight on ”two and a half ” fronts – meaning China, Pakistan and enemies hiding within the country. His departing at a critical juncture when he was all engrossed in the task of modernising the Indian Military is really an irreparable loss. The chopper was braving thick fog and was flying at a low altitude, seconds before the crash some locals are reported to have taken pictures which were shown by different TV Channels which again could help in ascertaining the causes of the crash of the twin engine Mi-17 VH chopper. A Guard of Honour was given at Wellington to the Late CDS where he was scheduled to visit the Defence Services staff College to address the faculty and the student officers. Since the flying data recorder Black Box has been found , it will definitely give vital leads as to what happened during the last phase of the flight when the chopper considered to be one of the best and the safest , was shortly to land snatching from us the top soldier , his wife and 11 other brave hearts. It is widely believed that the helicopter was considered to be resistant to the turbulences of the weather and hence perfectly airworthy. Meanwhile, a court of enquiry has been ordered into the accident which will unfold the causes that led to such a tragedy taking place. While the beholden but a shocked nation right from Kanya Kumari to Kashmir salutes its warriors, the countrymen at the same time pray for the recovery of the lone survivor of the crash – Group Captain Varun Singh who is undergoing treatment in Command Hospital in Bengaluru . The country shall remember Gen. Rawat’s vast contribution in strengthening the Army and laying all stress on its modernisation so as to take on decisively any threat to our borders or any part of our territory. His conviction that ”Forces first and no compromise” reiterates his commitment and dedication to soldiery and its superb importance. ”I am proud of the uniform I wear, I joined the Army with a mission ”were the words he shared once with a reporter when asked about his choosing the ” Army Green”, the colour of the Army uniform and army fatigues. Moments of emotional scenes were witnessed in Tamil Nadu’s Mettupalayam where men, women, young and old were seen on both sides of the roads in tears and chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai and showering flowers on the ambulances carrying the mortal remains of Gen. Rawat and other defence personnel. As a nation, we have to rise above emotions , grief and shock as we are known for the spirit of resilience and moving ahead. As it is said that the ”show must go on”, equally capable and committed talent in Indian soldiery shall take the mission forward from where Gen. Rawat had to stop due to the will of the nature. That shall be the biggest tribute to the great soldi