Buhari reacts as India’s defence chief, wife, 11 others die in helicopter crash

President Muhammadu Buhari has joined other world leaders in reacting to the death of India’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife, and 11 others who were killed in a helicopter crash.

In a message to the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Thursday, President Buhari described the crash as irreparable losses to the Indian military and the nation.

Buhari in a statement signed by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said that the late Chief of Defence Staff was widely credited with the reform of the Indian armed forces and the security apparatuses.

Part of the statement read: “On behalf of myself, the government and people of Nigeria, I convey to you our deepest condolences, to the Rawat family, the families of the deceased as well as the Indian Military and nation as you mourn the Chief of Defence Staff, his wife and 11 other fine crop of officers.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Rawat was India’s first chief of defence staff, a government’s position in 2019, and was seen as close to prime minister Modi.

Rawat was travelling with his wife and other senior officers in the Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter, which crashed near its destination in southern Tamil Nadu state.

The 63-year-old was an outstanding soldier and “true patriot” who had helped modernise the country’s armed forces

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