“Our’s will not be the first bullet, but after the first bullet is fired, we won’t count our bullets”, this one line is enough to characterise the personality of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat. The afternoon of the 8th of December 2021 brought the terrible news of the untimely and sad demise of Gen. Bipin Rawat, along with his wife and 11 brave warriors of the Indian Armed Forces.
Gen. Bipin Rawat was commissioned into the Indian Army in December 1978, and right from his training days, the spark in him was clearly visible. He graduated from the National Defence Academy, Pune and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, in the order of merit and was even awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’.
Rise through the ranks
Rising through the ranks, he went on to become the Chief of Army Staff on the 31st of December 2016. Finally, on the 1st of January 2020, Gen. Rawat was appointed India’s first Chief of the Defence Staff, an appointment that military experts had advocated for a long time.
Gen. Bipin Rawat was a battle-hardened soldier. He was part of the battalion involved in the skirmish with the Chinese during 1987.
He served overseas in Congo as part of the UN Peacekeeping mission. During his deployment there, his Brigade faced a major offensive that threatened the regional capital of North Kivu and 7,000 lives. However, by showing exemplary leadership acumen, Brigadier Rawat neither allowed the regional capital to fall to the rebels nor led the 7,000 lives to face any risk.
In 2015, India saw the brutal killing of its 18 brave soldiers in Manipur. In an unprecedented and rare step, India conducted surgical strikes entering Myanmar and eliminated the perpetrators of the attack. The units of the 21st battalion of the Parachute Regiment that struck an NSCN-K base in Myanmar were under the operational control of the Dimapur based III Corps, which Gen. Rawat then commanded.
He broke the back of militancy in Jammu & Kashmir by spearheading the ‘Operation All Out’.
In 2016, General Rawat was also part of the team that planned the surgical strikes inside Pakistan Occupied Kashmir following the terrorist attack on the Indian Army’s Uri base camp. A team of the Indian Army crossed the Line of Control (LoC) into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, inflicted heavy casualties on Pakistani terrorists and returned unscathed.
Military Modernisation and Theatrisation
Gen. Bipin Rawat took several steps to modernise the Indian Army and boost its fighting power. Moreover, he was known and acknowledged for his role in planning the ‘Theaterisation’ of the armed forces to build jointness among the tri-services. He had planned for five ‘integrated theatre commands’ that would combine the three forces instead of each having several regional commands. This plan had particularly caught the attention of China as it was thought that it would add a lot of leanness and agility to the Indian Armed Forces.
The demise of General Bipin Rawat is one of those rare occasions where every true Indian has been pained beyond words. The people’s agony is as if someone from their family has passed away. Even in death, Gen. Bipin Rawat has managed to bind the nation as a family, which is the ultimate reward for this brave son of India.
Salute to the dedication, patriotism and ultimate sacrifice of General Bipin Rawat and all the martyrs who passed away serving the nation.