Expressing deep regret over the demise of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev on Wednesday said Moscow has lost a "very close friend".
Taking to Twitter, Kudashev said Rawat played a big role in the promotion of India and Russia bilateral special and privileged strategic partnership.
"With the deepest regret learnt about the saddening demise of Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat & 11 other officers in the helicopter crash today. India has lost its great patriot and dedicated hero," Kudashev tweeted.
"Russia has lost a very close friend, who played a big role in the promotion of our bilateral special and privileged strategic partnership. Grieving together with India. Goodbye, friend! Farewell, commander!" he added.
General Bipin Rawat died after a military helicopter crashed in Coonoor in Tamil Nadu today.
The helicopter crashed around noon shortly after it took off from the Air Force base in Sulur, Coimbatore, for Wellington in the Nilgiri Hills.
The General was heading to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course on Wednesday.
General Rawat, a veteran of counterinsurgency warfare, served in the most difficult terrains including northern and eastern commands.
CDS Rawat was commissioned into the Indian Army in December 1978. He previously served as Chief of the Army Staff from January 2017 to December 2019. (ANI)