India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, who died in a helicopter crash in December last year, was posthumously conferred Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian award. His daughters Kritika and Tarini received the award on behalf of the CDS from President Ram Nath Kovind on March 20.
General Rawat’s wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 other defence force personnel died in the December helicopter crash.
Gen Rawat heralded the Indian armed forces into a new transformation era as a’ Soldier Statesman’. An alumnus of NDA and IMA, who passed out with coveted ‘Sword of Honour’, had an illustrious career that one could only envy. A second-generation General officer in the Army, Gen Bipin Rawat, epitomised the stellar character of a military leader who always led from the front. Honest, upright and committed, in his over four decades of distinguished service, he was known for his plain-speaking dynamism and path-breaking decisions.
As the first CDS and Secretary, Department of Military Affairs (DMA), he was entrusted with the onerous responsibility of recasting the nation’s security architecture, ushering greater jointness and synergy amongst the Services and providing an impetus to the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country.
A strong proponent of Tri-Services integration and positive change, Gen Rawat rallied for organisational restructuring, modernisation of Indian Armed Forces and creation of Integrated Theatre Commands. He envisioned enhancing the operational capabilities and jointness amongst the three Services, optimising manpower and resources, reviewing old and obsolete policies, traditions and practices, revitalising the procurement process through Integrated Capability Development Plan, and simplifying the decision-making process of the MoD.
Due to his enduring efforts, the TriServices integration was propelled in the right direction in multiple domains, especially joint training wherein numerous Joint Services Training Institutes were made functional. As part of integrating the logistics requirements of the Services, three Joint Logistics Nodes at Mumbai, Port Blair and Guwahati were established in record time. With his 360 degrees focus and guidance, he streamlined the operational procedures, maintenance philosophy, codification and standardisation of inventory.
To provide impetus to Atmanirbhar Bharat, several initiatives were introduced, including promulgating two Positive Indigenisation Lists mandating the Services to procure these items from domestic vendors.
Further, numerous policy decisions were taken to address the growing aspiration of all ranks of the three Services, including refined posting and promotion policies, more profound and merit-based selection process, enhanced induction of women in Armed Forces, and review of medical categorisation and disability norms. He efficiently oversaw the orchestration of HADR response of the Services during disasters such as cyclones, floods, avalanches and forest fires. He channelised the efforts of the Services as part of the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
His astute leadership, inclusive approach and integrated efforts prepared the Armed Forces to respond to any security challenges from our advisories. His vision continues to guide the Armed Forces in their pursuance of professional excellence. One of the country’s highest civilian awards, Padma Awards, are conferred in three categories: Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri.
The awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz. art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc. ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service
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