The aim of the proposed Chair of Excellence will be to conduct research on strategic issues of significance pertaining to the armed forces

India on Wednesday paid tribute to CDS Bipin Rawat on the occasion of his 65th birth anniversary. Remembering the late army officer who was also the country’s first chief of defence staff, the Indian Army announced the setting up of a ‘Chair of Excellence’ in his memory at the United Service Institution of India (USI).

The formal announcement was made by General Manoj Naravane, Chief of Army Staff and Officiating Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, at a ceremony organised at South Block on Tuesday.

“The aim of the proposed Chair of Excellence will be to conduct research on strategic issues of significance pertaining to the armed forces,” the Army said in a statement. The Chair will be open to veterans of the three Services and civilians having expertise in the field of national security and military affairs, it stated.

General Naravane also handed over a cheque for ₹5 lakh to Maj. Gen. B.K. Sharma (Retd) that will be paid as an honorarium to the nominated Chair of Excellence.

“Late General Bipin Rawat who served as India’s first CDS as well as the 27th Chief of Indian Army was an outstanding professional and was in the midst of steering one of the most radical transformations of the Indian military," the Army further stated.

Here’s a look at some key facts about India’s First Chief of Defence Staff:

1. CDS Bipin Rawat was born in Uttarakhand’s Pauri in the year 1958 and joined the Indian Army in December 1978 and was commissioned into the Indian army’s Fifth Battalion and Eleventh Gorkha Rifles after graduating from the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun.

2. He was awarded the prestigious ‘Sword of Honour’ on his graduation from the Indian Military Academy. Rawat also completed a Diploma in Management and Computer Studies. He also received a doctorate in philosophy (Ph.D.) from Meerut’s Chaudhary Charan Singh University.

3. General Rawat held various positions during his military career, including Brigade commander, Southern Command, General Staff Officer Grade 2 at the Military Operations Directorate, and many others.

4. Among his various feats, General Rawat also headed the Indian brigade during the United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2008. India performed splendidly under his leadership and he was credited with dynamic leadership under the UN banner.

5. One of the highlights of his career was the 2015 cross-border operation in Myanmar, where the Indian Army successfully countered the NSCN-K insurgents. General Rawat was also involved in the planning of the surgical strike in 2016.

6. The general had survived a chopper accident when he was the commander of the Dimapur-based Headquarters 3 Corps.

7. In January General Rawat was conferred the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award. General Rawat has written a number of pieces on national security and leadership that have appeared in a variety of publications.

Last year, on December 8, General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 others were killed when the Indian Air Force (IAF) Mi-17V5 helicopter which was enroute from Sulur to the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, crashed in the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu.