CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others died on Wednesday in a tragic IAF chopper crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu. The IAF confirmed the news in a tweet saying, “With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident."

Rawat had several times called out Pakistan and China over the issues of terrorism and infiltration, while also asserting that India is ready for a two-front war. Here are the top quotes of General Bipin Rawat:

“We have had to start afresh and look at what lies ahead”: When asked what the one big challenge was after one month into his new role as the Chief of Defence Staff, Rawat said, “What I did not anticipate is the pace at which we will have to move forward. I think the government is very concerned that things must move on fast track. I am sure the government presumed that if defence services were asking for a CDS they would have done their basic homework. Therefore, all that the CDS would have to do is move on in what has been done already. But that is not the case, so we have had to start afresh and look at what lies ahead.”

“Border issues can’t be solved overnight”: In May this year, when India was having a stand-off with Chinese forces along the northern border near Ladakh, Gen Rawat said, “We all understand the complexity we face at our borders with China and Pakistan. These cannot be resolved overnight and it is impossible to predict how long this would take. All I can say is that all effort is being made to resolve the issues on mutually acceptable terms. No country would want to lose tactical advantages when we settle our borders. Border settlement will take place based on the way the government wants it. We also have to look at how adversaries want the border settlement. We cannot afford to lose any ground, so we are maintaining what is there now.”

“India is ready for a ‘two-and-a-half front war": General Bipin Rawat said in 2017, when he was the Army Chief, referring to Pakistan, China and internal conflicts. In an interview with ANI, Gen Rawat said he was confident the situation in Kashmir would soon normalise.

“Young Children Being Radicalised, need to Identify & Put Them in De-radicalisation Camps": At the Raisina Dialogue, a conclave of global affairs hosted by India, Gen Rawat said, “To say that radicalisation cannot be countered, I don’t agree with this. Anything that has started can be put to an end. Radicalisation can be countered. You have to start looking at where the radicalisation is happening. And who are the people who are radicalising these people? It is happening in schools, universities, religious places and sites, and there are a group of people who are spreading this,” he said.

“India will catch up with China in border infrastructure development in 3 to 4 years”: In an interactive session at the India Economic Conclave in March 2021, the Chief of Defence Staff said, “I think, now we are being able to keep pace with what the adversary is doing on the other side. We have not yet caught up with them. But the time is not far when we should be able to catch up," he said.

“All defence services prepared": The ever-prepared Gen Rawat said in January 2020, shortly after starting his role as CDS, “All the defence services are tasked to be prepared for any option that may emerge. It is very difficult to predict a scenario. But, we are always prepared for any task that may be assigned to us,”

“Pakistan will have to take back bodies”: Rawat, while holding the position of Army Chief, said Pakistan would have to “take back bodies" if it dares to infiltrate. Alerting Pakistan to not “attempt any misadventure", Rawat said, “Infiltration has come down because of our troops sitting alert at the border. Pakistan knows that if it’ll infiltrate, all they will have to do is come back and take mortal remains."

“Can’t give women combat roles, there will be ruckus when maternity leave is denied”: General Rawat said that while he was ready to introduce women to combat roles, the Army may not be as most Jawans come from villages and they may not accept a woman officer leading them. He also highlighted the issue of maternity leave and said the Army would not be able to give her leave if she is the commanding officer as she can’t leave her unit for six months, but said objecting to the leave could create a “ruckus”.

“We need to take the bull by its horns and strike at the root cause”: In another oblique reference to Pakistan, Rawat said, “As long as there are states which sponsor terrorism, we will have to live with the menace.” He said the countries which are sponsoring terrorism cannot be part of the global fight against terror networks.