New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: General Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff has been awarded Padma Vibhushan posthumously. Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honor after the Bharat Ratna is awarded for 'exceptional and distinguished service' to the nation.

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Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind in his Republic Day address to the nation remembered General Bipin Rawat's contribution to the nation and said that 'when a brave soldier dies on duty, the entire country feels sad'.

"Last month, in an unfortunate accident, we lost one of the bravest commanders of the country - General Bipin Rawat - his wife and many brave soldiers," President Kovind said.

Fourteen people, including the late Chief of Defence Staff and his wife Madhulika Rawat, were killed in a chopper crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on December 8.

Further, the President hailed the inclusion of women in armed forces as a watershed moment for women empowerment. "As the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, I am glad to note that it has been a water-shed year for women empowerment in the Armed Forces. Our daughters have broken the glass ceiling and permanent commission has now been allowed for women officers in the armed forces," he said.

Vaccine makers Krishna Ella and Suchitra Ella of Bharat Biotech, Cyrus Poonawalla of Cyrus Poonawala Group that includes Covishield maker Serum Institute of India, politicians Ghulam Nabi Azad, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, and Indian-origin tech titans Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai were also named as recipients of India's top civilian honor on Tuesday.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma