Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and 12 others killed in Chopper Crash

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Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and 12 others killed in Chopper Crash

India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, an army Brigadier, Lieutenant, Wing Commander, Squadron Leader and 7 others were killed in a chopper crash in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. 

The helicopter Mi-17-V5  had taken off from  Sulur Air Force base in Coimbatore ,Tamil Nadu to the  Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Tamil Nadu to address the faculty and student officers of the ‘Staff Course’.

 Sulur Airforce Station Base

It is the second largest Air base in India after Hindon Airbase in Uttar Pradesh .

It is located near Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

It was set up a Naval base in 1940 as HMS Vairi. In 1955 the base was transferred to the Indian Air Force .

The airbase is home to:

109 Helicopter Unit nicknamed “Knights” that operates the Russia-made chopper,

33 squadron “Himalayan Geese” that flies Antonov-32 fixed wing transport aircraft,

two squadrons of the indigenous light combat aircraft “Tejas” and

 the 151 Helicopter Unit of the popular air display team “Sarang” that flies the advanced light helicopters, Dhruv, built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

The Chief Of Defence Staff (CDS)  was set up by the Government of India in 2020 on the recommendation of the Kargil Committee headed by K.Subramanyam in 2000.

The first CDS was Gen. Bipin Rawat who joined the office on 1 January 2020.  

The Chief of Defence Staff is described as the ‘first among equals among the service chiefs. The CDS is a four-star General/Officer who will act as the Principal Military Advisor to the Defence Minister on all tri-services (Army, Navy, and Indian Air Force) matters.

Roles and Functions-

  • CDS will head Department of Military Affairs (Latest department of Defence Ministry)
  • He will be the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC)
  • He will act as the military adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority (chaired by the Prime Minister), which handles India’s nuclear arsenal. 
  • He will ensure the integration of land-air-sea operations through the eventual setting up of theatre commands.
  • Promoting the use of indigenous equipment by the Services.
  • Implement the five-year Defence Capital Acquisition Plan (DCAP) and the two-year roll-on Annual Acquisition Plans.
  • CDS will administer the tri-services organizations/agencies related to Cyber and Space.

Service Conditions-

  • Can serve up to a maximum age of 65 years
  • He will not be eligible to hold any government office after demitting (resigning) as the CDS.
  • No private employment without prior approval for a period of five years after demitting the office of CDS.
  • He will have the salary and perquisites equivalent to a service chief



Located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu.

 It has an average elevation of 1,850 meters (6,070 feet) above sea level. 

Nilgiri Mountains are part of the Western Ghats. (Highest Peak - Doddabetta, at 2,637 metres (8,652 ft)).

The Nilgiri Hills are part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (itself part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves) and form a part of the protected bio reserves in India.

Nigiri mountains are also known as Blue mountains due to the  bluish flowers of kurinji shrubs endemic to that area.

The Nilgiri Hills are separated from the Mysore Plateau to the north by the Moyar River

Nilgiri is surrounded by 3 national parks - 

  • Mudumalai National Park (in the northern part of the range where Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu meet)
  • Mukurthi National Park lies in the southwest part of the range, in Kerala, and
  • Silent Valley National Park lies just to the south

Tribal people of the Nilgiri hills include Badagas, Todas, Kotas, Irullas and Kurumbas. They mainly depend on forests for their day-to-day life.

In July 2005 UNESCO recognized Nilgiri Mountain Railway as a World Heritage Site

MI-17-V5 Helicopter

The Mi-17 (NATO reporting name: Hip) is a Soviet-designed Russian military helicopter family produced by Kazan Helicopters. It is known as the Mi-8M series in Russian service. The helicopter is mostly used as a transport helicopter for various humanitarian and disaster relief missions, troop and arms transport, fire support, convoy escort, patrol, and search-and-rescue (SAR) missions as well as an armed gunship version.

Indian Air Force is using this since 2012

The Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) 

It is a defense service training institution of the Ministry of Defence located in Wellington, Tamil Nadu

It trains officers of all three services of the Indian Armed Forces – (Indian Military Service, Indian Naval Service, Indian Airforce Service), selected officers from the Paramilitary forces and the Civil Services, and Officers from friendly foreign countries for command and staff appointments.

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