The IAF has said that General Bipin Rawat, his wife, and 11 other people were killed after a military helicopter they were traveling in crashed in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
The crash occurred on Tuesday morning near the town of Arakkonam, which is about 70km west of the state capital Chennai. The helicopter was on its way to the southern city of Coimbatore, where General Rawat was scheduled to attend a defense seminar.
A local police official told Reuters that all those who died in the crash were military personnel or their family members. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
General Rawat was appointed as India’s Chief of Army Staff in December 2016. He has been credited with the Indian army’s successful counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir and other areas.
Since he took the position, General Rawat has also had to deal with several standoffs between India and Pakistan on the border dividing both countries in Kashmir. On Tuesday, Pakistani forces violated a ceasefire agreement by firing across the de facto border into Indian-administered Kashmir killing at least one person and injuring six others.