INDIA. Mumbai: In an unfortunate incident,two Army pilots-Major Rohit Kumar and Major Anuj Rajput died after an Army aviation helicopter crash-landed at Shiv Garh Dhar forest in Patnitop area, a famous tourist resort along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Udhampur district, on Tuesday.
The incident took place on Tuesday morning when the chopper, a Cheetah, which was on a routine training sortie crashed. The area was covered in thick fog at the time of the accident.
General MM Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff in a tweet said “all ranks salute the supreme sacrifice of Major Rohit Kumar and Major Anuj Rajput and offer deep condolences to the families”.
Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Y K Joshi, in a tweet, offered condolences saying “Army CdrNC and all ranks salute the Bravehearts Major Rohit Kumar and Anuj Rajput who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty on September 21 at Patnitop and offer deep condolences to their families”.
On August 3, two pilots were killed after an army helicopter crashed into Ranjit Sagar Dam lake near Pathankot (Punjab) (a meeting point of the three northern states Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir). The body of one fallen pilot is still missing.
Air Marshal VR Chaudhari To Be New Chief Of Air Staff
In the meanwhile, the Defence Ministry on Tuesday announced Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, as the next Chief of the Air Staff after the retirement of Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, on September 30.
Air Marshal Chaudhari also served as chief of the Western Air Command-– the largest air command of the IAF responsible for parts of both the borders with Pakistan and China. The Western Air Command has the responsibility of protecting Ladakh as well, where India and China have been involved in an over 16-month-long standoff since May 2020.
He took over as the vice chief on July 1 this year, after Air Marshal HS Arora retired. Earlier, he had served as the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ and Senior Air Staff Officer at the Eastern Air Command.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Chaudhari has commanded a frontline fighter squadron and a fighter base during his career. He has also held various other positions including the Deputy Commandant, Air Force Academy; Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence), and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers).
Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria will retire exactly two years after his appointment to the top post on September 30, 2019. Bhadauria had taken over from BS Dhanoa in September 2019. Incidentally, Bhadauria was set to retire that day, but his appointment as the chief had given him a two-year tenure.