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Wires reporting that a helicopter carrying India's Chief of the Defence Staff (the country's most senior military official) General Bipin Rawat has crashed in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

  • There are conflicting reports emerging as to the number of fatalities and/or injuries, but the Indian Air Force has specifically not commented on General Rawat's condition.
  • Rawat is viewed as something of a hawk on Sino-Indian relations, with his battalion having been deployed in the disputed Sumdorong Chu Valley during the 1986-87 stand off between the armies of China and India. This was the first skirmish between the two countries since the 1962 war that saw China consolidate its position in the disputed region.
  • In September, Rawat, speaking at an event in New Delhi, mentioned the 'clash of civilisations' theory when talking about differences between China and the West in political terms, positioning India as a bulwark against Chinese expanionism. These comments were rowed back a day later bt the Indian foreign minister.