New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday unveiled a life-size statue of India's first chief of defence staff late General Bipin Rawat in Dehradun.
The defence minister described Gen Rawat as a courageous soldier who will remain an inspiration for the future generations.
"The demise of Gen Rawat is an irreparable loss to the nation. Even in his last moments, he was on duty, serving the nation. His commitment, dedication, and patriotism could be felt until the very end," he added.
Gen Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 other military personnel were killed in a helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on December 8, 2021.
Recalling an incident when Gen Rawat was wounded due to a gunshot at a remote border post in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said the episode prompted the decorated officer to strengthen the functioning of the Indian Army near the Line of Control and Line of Actual Control when he was the Army chief.
Gen Rawat was a true symbol of the country's military tradition, wherein a soldier, irrespective of the birth place, remains dedicated to the security of the nation, he added.
The defence minister remembered the last moments of Gen Rawat, stating that it signified the true meaning of "die with your boots on".
"The demise of Gen Rawat is an irreparable loss to the nation. Even in his last moments, he was on duty, serving the nation. His commitment, dedication, and patriotism could be felt until the very end," Singh said after inaugurating the statue at the Tons Bridge school.
The defence minister noted that Gen Rawat was appointed as the first CDS which is one of the most significant reforms in the military history of the country.
Singh described "upholding the dignity of the soldiers and honouring their contribution" as the duty of the government, asserting that "under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, we are honouring the valour and sacrifices of our soldiers." He emphasised that while the government is equipping the armed forces with state-of-the-art weapons and platforms, it has also constructed the National War Memorial in New Delhi to pay a fitting tribute to the bravehearts.
Appreciating the idea of installing the statue inside the school complex, Singh stated that the objective is to take the stories of valour of the armed forces to the children and instil patriotism and dedication in them.
"Statues hold a significant importance in our society & culture. It is a part of our rich heritage, which also serves as an inspiration for the future," he said.
"Schools not only provide education but also shape the personality of students. Every child can learn from personalities such as Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, former President APJ Abdul Kalam and Gen Bipin Rawat and contribute to nation building," he added. PTI MPB CK