The military camp at Kibithu, which is very close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh, has been renamed as ‘Gen Bipin Rawat military garrison’ in honour of the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who was killed in a chopper crash last December.
Gen Rawat’s name is now associated with Kibithu, said Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu and sanctioned ₹10 crore to the garrison. We will make this the one of the best garrison in the country, he announced.
Noting that the State shares borders with three countries the longest being with China at 1100 km, Mr. Khandu said that the Central government has taken up the development of northern borders and development of villages has been taken up under the ‘vibrant village’ scheme. Under this, he said three villages – Kibithu, Walong, and Musai – are being developed under this scheme in first phase. The State Government has its own parallel village development scheme.
Kibithu is a small hamlet on the banks of the Lohit Valley in the Rest of Arunachal Pradesh (RALP) close to the LAC. Gen. Rawat commanded his Battalion 5/11 Gorkha Rifles here as a Colonel from 1999-2000.
A gate built in local traditional architectural style was inaugurated by Governor Brig D.B. Mishra (Retd). The 22 km road stretch from Walong to Kibithu was dedicated as Gen Bipin Rawat marg by Mr. Khandu.
The event was at attended by Lt Gen R.P. Kalita, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command and Tarini, one of the two daughters of Gen Rawat among others. A life size mural of the General was unveiled by the Governor at the event which was also attended by local people from Kibithu and Walong.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) Mi-17V5 helicopter with Gen. Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 others including his staff, the pilots and crew was enroute to the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington from Sulur on December 8 when it crashed in the Nilgris in Tamil Nadu close to the destination.
A tri-services inquiry ordered by the IAF headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command found that the accident was a “result of entry into clouds due to unexpected change in weather conditions in the valley. This led to spatial disorientation of the pilot resulting in Controlled Flight into Terrain.”
This January, on the eve of Republic Day, Gen Rawat was posthumously conferred with Padma Vibushan.
With massive infrastructure upgradation by China including setting up of civilian enclaves close to the LAC, India has also taken up across the board development of civilian and military infrastructure.
In addition to development of villages and roads, setting of mobile towers for 4G communications is underway under the Unified Service Obligation Fund, under which corporates can provide telecom services in rural and remote areas under the CSR obligations. Under this, mobile towers are being set up in strategically sensitive areas like Kibithu, Walong and Hayuliang. Phase-I covering Lohit and Debang regions should be completed by December this year, officials said.