Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat was not a popular public figure in a typical sense. Still, his sudden demise, with his wife and personal staff in a fatal helicopter crash on December 8, shook the entire nation to the core. What is the legacy of the first CDS of Bharat that brought the whole country to tears?
General Rawat symbolised the heroism and fearlessness of our Armed Forces. Whether Bharat-China skirmish in the Sumdorong Chu valley in 1987, daring and meticulous surgical strike of 2015 across the border in Myanmar striking down an NSCN-K base or later surgical strikes after Uri or Balakot airstrikes, Gen Rawat was always there as a man of decisive action. He never feared identifying the enemy on all fronts and gave them a reply in the language they understood.
Known for his expertise in counter-insurgency, Gen Rawat was also known as the leader of his soldiers. He trusted the intent of his subordinates and stood by them in difficult times. On the usage of pellet guns, human shields to fight against the stone pelters giving cover to the terrorists or AFSPA, his stand was clear and unapologetic.
His most significant legacy is perhaps the role he played in integrating the Armed Forces by operationalising the office of Chief of Defence Staff. As the first CDS, he undertook the task of synergising security strategies of various theatre commands and wings of the Armed Forces. He was also instrumental in accelerating the process of defence modernisation and procurement. Though political leadership took most of these decisions, the execution was by Gen Rawat. He had commanded the confidence of the political leadership to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces.
The investigation process about the helicopter crash must go on, and the truth must come out. As of now, the grieving nation should celebrate this legacy and ensure that the tasks initiated by the first CDS of Bharat are taken forward to secure the nation internally and externally.
A Failed Idea Called Pakistan
When Bharat was mourning the sudden demise of its first CDS Gen Rawat, many Pakistani social media handles were celebrating. Though Pakistan officially delivered a condolence message, the helicopter crash was celebrated in Pakistan by and large. While depicting this accident as the bravery of the Pakistan Army, they forgot that the idea of Pakistan itself was crashed fifty years ago. The liberation of Bangladesh from the humanitarian abuses of the then West Pakistan was not just a victory of Bharat and Bengali Nationalism; it was also a colossal failure of the idea of Pakistan – a State based on religion. Since then, nothing has changed in the remaining part of Pakistan. The human rights of minorities, religious and linguistics, are still trampled. The non-Sunni sects within Islam do not find any space. Gender discrimination is still rampant. The Military still functions as a business house. The only changed things are increased radicalisation and penetrated Chinese debt trap. Fifty years ago, 93 thousand soldiers were released by Bharat after the signing of the Instrument of Surrender by General Niazi. Instead of rejoicing over the unfortunate accident, Pakistan should introspect over the failed idea of nationhood.