General Bipin Rawat was appointed as India's first Chief of Defence Staff in 2019

New Delhi: Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat has died at 63 following a chopper crash in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu that claimed the lives of 13 people, including General Rawat's wife Dr Madhulika Rawat. Four crew members and ten passengers, including the CDS, were on board the Air Force's Mi-17V5 helicopter. The chopper crashed shortly after it took off this morning from an Air Force base in Sulur near Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore. It was heading to Wellington in Udhagamandalam, also known as Ooty, where a Defence Services Staff College is located.

Here's your 5-point peak into General Rawat's career:

1. General Rawat has had an illustrious career in the defense services spanning over four decades that saw him rising in ranks to be appointed the first joint chief of the tri-services. The CDS is a one-point advisor to the government on matters related to the military and functions with the main aim of integrating the three services - the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. He was appointed the 27th Chief of the Army Staff in 2016 amid a controversy over his seniority. He had superseded two senior officers to occupy the Army chief's position. He then rose to become the CDS in 2019. The government had amended the Army rules to extend the age of superannuation from 62 years to 65 years, paving the way for his appointment to the post.

2. He is credited with being instrumental in reducing militancy in Northeast India. The 2015 cross-border operation into Myanmar in which the Indian Army successfully responded to an ambush by NSCN-K militants was conducted under his supervision. He was also part of the planning for the 2016 surgical strikes, in which the Indian Army went across the Line of Control into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and conducted an airstrike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror training camp in Pakistan's Balakot. General Rawat was reportedly monitoring the developments from South Block in New Delhi.

3. General Rawat was a veteran in counterinsurgency and high-altitude warfare, having served in difficult terrains including the Northern and Eastern commands. He has also served as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-C) Southern Command. During his long career, he served across the country in various roles. He commanded a company in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir. As a Colonel, he commanded the 5th battalion 11 Gorkha Rifles in the Eastern sector along the Line of Actual Control at Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh. As a Brigadier, he commanded 5 Sector of Rashtriya Rifles in Sopore, Kashmir. He has also been part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force and has commanded a multinational brigade in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was twice awarded the Force Commander's Commendation.

4. General Rawat has been decorated with many honours for his service, including the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, and Sena Medal.

5. General Rawat is an alumnus of the St Edward School in Shimla and the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. He was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978 from the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun. He was a recipient of the prestigious "Sword of Honour". General Rawat also attended the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA.