While the news of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat’s death in a tragic helicopter crash at Coonoor in Tamil Nadu sent the whole nation into a state of grief, conspiracy theorists have their hands full, finding similarities between General Rawat’s death and Taiwanese Chief of General Staff Shen Yi Ming’s death in January 2020. Both the officers, known for giving befitting replies to China, died in helicopter crashes, which do have some striking similarities.
Shen Yi Ming, the senior most official in the anti-Chinese Taiwanese military, was on a US-made UH-60M Black Hawk when it crashed near Taipei, killing 7 others along with Ming. The storm kicked off on social media after an eminent strategic analyst Brahma Chellaney, along with others, drew parallels between the deaths of the Defence chiefs.
Brahma Chellaney tweeted, “Gen. Rawat’s death has an eerie parallel with the helicopter crash in early 2020 that killed Taiwan’s chief of general staff, Gen. Shen Yi-ming, and seven others, including two major generals. Each helicopter crash eliminated a key figure in the defense against PRC’s aggression.”
Following it up with another tweet, which seemed a little contradictory of his earlier tweet, said “The strange parallel doesn’t mean there was any connection between the two helicopter crashes or an outside hand. If anything, each crash has raised important internal questions, especially about maintenance of military helicopters transporting top generals.”
However, netizens did not stop there as tweets kept pouring in comparing the deaths. While external (international) involvement in the incident is yet to be confirmed, some defence experts, strategists and netizens seem to be convinced that the Chinese have a role to play in both the deaths as they are strikingly similar in a lot of ways, more so because the incident took place amidst the unrest between the two nations in the Himalayan region.
The truth may unfold after the ongoing inquiry but fact remains that it will be difficult if not impossible to fill the void created by tragic and untimely death of late General Rawat.
The Indian Opinion – National Desk