India’s General Bipin Rawat and his wife were cremated together on the same pyre, with a 17-gun salute fired as their daughters set it alight. People lined the route chanting “Rawat will remain as long as there is a sun and a moon”.
The military funeral was televised in India on Friday. The flag-wrapped coffin of India’s defence chief was towed through the streets of New Delhi on a gun carriage draped with flower garlands before he was cremated together with his wife.
Rawat was close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and he became the country’s first chief of defence staff, a position created specially for him. The 63-year-old top military official was killed along with his spouse and 11 military personnel when their helicopter crashed on December 8th.
On Friday, India accorded General Rawat full military honours for his funeral, with the gun carriage bearing his remains towed by an armoured vehicle and escorted by lines of security personnel.
The procession and ceremony were broadcast live by multiple television channels with anchors calling Rawat “a true soldier” receiving the “final salute.”
India’s Air Force (IAF) confirmed Friday it had opened a tri-service inquiry into the crash near a military staff college in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. There was only one survivor.
“The inquiry would be completed expeditiously facts brought out,” the IAF wrote on Twitter.