A former officer in the Pakistan army has extended his condolence after India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat was killed in a helicopter crash along with his wife and 12 other defence personnel on Wednesday.

General Bipin Rawat and the 13 people were en route from an air force base to Wellington, a hillside military college in Tamil Nadu, and died when the Russian-made Mi-17V5 military helicopter they were travelling in crashed near Coonoor.

Adil Farooq Raja, a former major in the Pakistani army, tweeted his respect on a post by Brigadier RS Pathania, a former Indian war veteran, about the death of Gen Bipin Rawat.

“Sir please accept my heartfelt condolences,” Raja, “an Armoured Corps officer having diverse experience in Active Combat, Security, Protocol and Administration/Training assignments,” condoled CDS Rawat’s death in the thread.

In his reply Brigadier Pathania (Retd) talked about a duty of a soldier. “Thank you Adil. That’s what is expected from a soldier. Salute you,” he said.

Raja, whose LinkedIn profile says he is a geopolitical analyst and a columnist, replied to this with a traditional Punjabi saying.

“Off-course sir, it’s the decent thing to do as a soldier. Again, sorry for your loss sir. In our Punjabi folklore they say, “dushman maray te khushian na manawoo, kadday sajna v mar jaana" Means: “Don’t celebrate the deaths of your enemies as some day friends would also die".

Pathania’s reply was equally beautiful. “Thank you again Adil. I understand Punjabi and speak it as well. 🙂 We are enemies on the battlefield. Off that, let’s be civil to each other if we cannot be friends."

The conversation between Pathania and Raja has been liked on Twitter by hundreds of users who praised the “true spirit of a soldier with Traditions of Subcontinent.”

“That is what true soldiering is all about Major. You battle hard in times of combat without losing sight of the ethics of soldiering. That is what separates a soldier from a barbarian!” Fasih Ahmed, a former Indian Army major, tweeted.

“Adil Sir, thank you, such a mind is what man needs and respectfully accepted, and let us pray together for the eternal peace of the souls of the dead,” posted another user.

The last rites of General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat will be held on Friday around 5pm at Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment.

The mortal remains of Gen Rawat and others who lost their lives in the Coonoor Nadu chopper crash were brought on Thursday evening to Palam Airbase in Delhi from Sulur in caskets wrapped in the Tricolour.

Gen Rawat’s defence adviser Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder and staff officer Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh also died in the crash. The last rites of Brigadier LS Lidder will be held at 9.15am in Delhi Cantonment on Friday.

Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar and Lance Naik B Sai Teja were also killed in the helicopter crash.

Group Captain Varun Singh is the lone survivor from the crash and has been shifted to Bengaluru’s Air Force Command hospital.