Officer had banned use of smartphones by soldiers on Pak-China borders
Mysore/Mysuru: India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Laxman Singh Rawat, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu on Dec. 8 was known as a jovial, straight-talking officer who initiated studies to reorganise the Army, make it a leaner force and fit for wars of the future.
“He was a real patriot who would not compromise even a bit in his profession and was known for his integrity. He used to complete the day’s work on schedule and expected and ensured that his team too functions like a clock — precise, punctual and prompt,” said retired soldier from Mysuru K. Venu, who had an opportunity to work with Bipin Rawat for one year.
Venu is a resident of Mysuru and has fond memories with the General. “We used to often hear words of patriotism from him and he had a passion for modernisation and he believed in his team. He was very open about issues and did not mince his words,” Venu recalled.
“Rawat was not ready to compromise on duty at any point of time. He was always concerned about the safety and security of the nation and I felt many times that he was a born soldier,” he added.
In 2007, Rawat was posted as a Sector Commander for Five Sector RR (Bandipora and Sopore) and Venu served him there. He was then promoted to the rank of Brigadier and commanded the Rashtriya Rifles or RR unit in Sopore, north of Srinagar, which at the time was a hotbed of militancy.
“You can imagine his integrity as he was elevated to the post of India’s first CDS as he superseded two of his seniors to the role, a precedent repeated after 33 years. Serving him for one year was a momentous time in my military career and his encouraging words in tough and hostile terrain were inspiring,” Venu told Star of Mysore.
As soon as Rawat took over as the Sector Commander, he banned the soldiers from using android (smart) phones due to the threat of data leaks and also, proximity to Pakistan and China. “He barred all of us from using android phones primarily to discourage sharing of photos, posts and location details that could be leaked to the terrorists or intercepted by the enemy forces,” Venu recalled.
“This was to prevent soldiers from uploading images and videos related to their camps on social media websites that could be used by terrorists for potential ambushes. He passed the order that only keypad phones must be used in sensitive locations,” Venu said.
“He took us into confidence and prepared us for any eventuality. He always exhorted us to be on guard and face the threat on its face. Rawat grew to high ranks because of individual capabilities. He was a fearless speaker and never minced any words. He is a very balanced officer, sincere, loyal and hard working,” Venu said.
Bipin Rawat was a born-soldier and he was very determined and dedicated to his duty. It was only due to his capability, he became the CDS. Having good knowledge of the operations, manpower and logistics of our defence forces, he was very quick in the decision-making process.
Usually, the travel plans and itinerary of top military officers including the CDS would be under wraps till the last moment. This is due to security reasons. Only at the last minute, people close to the officer and flight crew would be briefed about the next destination the top officer would land, Venu stated. There are many doubts in how an efficient and most advanced chopper has crashed in the jungles. Now people say that it crashed due to inclement weather. But the truth will have to come out after the Tri Service probe, he said.