New Delhi: The three service chiefs on Thursday paid glowing tributes to India’s first Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat on his first death anniversary.

Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, and Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari paid homage to late Gen Rawat at the iconic Hut of Remembrance of the National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla in Pune.

Gen Rawat was an alumnus of Charlie Squadron of the 53rd NDA course. He served the nation as the 27th Chief of the Army Staff and subsequently the first Chief of the Defence Staff.

Gen Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 other military personnel were killed in a helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on December 8 last year.

As India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, he was spearheading an initiative to bring convergence in the functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force and bolster the country’s overall military prowess.

“Gen Bipin Rawat was an outstanding soldier and a true patriot who greatly contributed to modernising our armed forces and security apparatus,” the Army said in a statement.

“As India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, the General Officer worked on diverse aspects relating to our armed forces, most notably defence reforms. His insight and perspectives on strategic matters were exceptional,” it said.

The Army said the nation will never forget his yeoman service toward festering an enduring culture of jointmanship and integration in the armed forces.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also paid tributes to Gen Bipin Rawat on his first death anniversary.

“Fondly remember India’s first CDS Late Gen. Bipin Rawat on his death anniversary today. A great soldier, a strong leader and a wonderful human being,” he tweeted.

The headquarters of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) said 71 military officers serving in 44 Indian embassies and high commissions paid homage to the late commander CDS.

“On the occasion of the first death anniversary of #CDS Late Gen #BipinRawat and others who laid down their lives on Dec 8, 2021 in a helicopter crash, 71 military officers serving in 44 Indian Embassies and High Commissions paid online homage on the National War Memorial portal,” it tweeted.