With 17 gun salutes by tri-services personnel, the last rites of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, and his wife, Madulika Rawat, were performed with full military honours at Brar Square in Delhi Cantonment on Friday.
The tri-services buglers played ‘Last Post’ followed by ‘Rouse’ just before the funeral pyres were lit by their daughter.
Before that, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh laid a wreath and paid homage to the departed souls at the crematorium.
“Paid my last respects to General Bipin Rawat and his wife, Madhulika Rawat. General Rawat devoted his life to serving and protecting our nation. India will remember his courage, valour and patriotism. Farewell General,” Singh said in a tweet.
General Rawat, with his wife and 11 other armed forces personnel were killed after the IAF chopper they were travelling in crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
A funeral procession was taken out from the late General’s residence on K. Kamraj Road to the Delhi Cantonment. Hundreds of people stood on both sides of the road during the procession to catch a glimpse of the final journey of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff.
A total of 99 officers of all ranks from the Army, Navy and Air force, and 33 members of the tri-services band were the front escort, while 99 officers of all ranks from the three services acted as the rear escort. Twelve officers from the Army, Navy and Air Force of the rank of Brigadier and equivalent were on vigil duty.
The Indian Army also came up with an online link where one could pay tribute to the departed souls.
After the mortal remains reached the Brar Square crematorium, a ceremonial battery of 2,233 Field Regiment provided gun carriage.
Many senior military commanders from friendly foreign countries reached Delhi to attend the funeral of General Rawat and his wife.
From Sri Lanka, General Shavendra Silva, the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Sri Lankan Army, and Admiral Ravindra Chandrasiri Wijegunaratne (Retd), former Chief of Defence Staff and General Rawat’s course mate at the National Defence College, paid homage.
Brigadier Dorji Rinchen, Deputy Chief Operations Officer of Royal Bhutan Army, Lt Gen Bal Krishna Karki, Chief of General Staff of Nepali Army, and Lt Gen Waker-UZ-Zaman, Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division of Bangladesh, paid their respect.
A total of 800 service personnel attended the funeral.
Earlier in the day, Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, Union Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey and many others paid their last respects to General Rawat and his wife at their residence in Delhi.
The mortal remains of another victim of the tragic crash, Brigadier L.S. Lidder, also was also laid to rest with full military honours at Brar Square.