A wreath-laying ceremony was organized at the ‘Hut of Remembrance’ in the National Defence Academy (NDA) on Saturday in memory of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder and Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, the academy alumni who lost their lives during a helicopter crash in the Coonoor district of Tamil Nadu on December 8.
NDA Commandant Air Marshal Sanjeev Kapoor paid homage to the deceased alumni in a solemn ceremony on behalf of the NDA fraternity. All key officials of the Academy were present to pay their last respect to the departed souls. General Bipin Rawat was an alumnus of the 53rd NDA Course, Charlie Squadron. He had also served the nation as the 27th Chief of the Army Staff before becoming the first Chief of Defence Staff in January 2020. The ‘Hut of Remembrance’ book read that “Rarely a General goes with his boots on. General Rawat etched his name in the Hut of Remembrance at NDA as the senior most soldier to die in line of duty. That’s his glory.”
Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, SM, VSM was an alumnus of the 77th NDA Course, India (I) Squadron. The officer was approved for the next rank of Major General and was due to take over a division. The officer was carrying out duties of the Defence Assistant to the Chief of Defence Staff. Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan was an alumnus of the 100th NDA Course, Foxtrot (F) Squadron. He was the Commanding Officer of the 109 Helicopter Unit and was flying the MI-17 helicopter of the Chief of Defence Staff during the ill-fated accident.
“Today, as their names get inscribed in golden letters with full military honour in the sacred Hut of Remembrance, their martyrdom will continue to inspire future generations of NDA cadets. The NDA fraternity offers heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families in this hour of grief,” said a press statement from the NDA.
The ‘Hut of Remembrance’ at the NDA is a cenotaph that commemorates the sacrifice of ex-NDA officers who lay down their lives in the line of duty.