Must give him a smiling send-off: Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder’s wife

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The wife and daughter of Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder on Friday paid a tearful farewell to the officer, who was killed in the military helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor along with Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat and 12 others.

“We must give him a good farewell, a smiling send-off. I am a soldier’s wife. I have nothing more to say. It’s a big loss,” Geetika Lidder said after the brigadier was cremated with full military honours at Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment on Friday.

Visuals from the crematorium showed Geetika Lidder and his daughter, Aashna Lidder, breaking down while paying their last respects to him. The late brigadier’s wife was seen in tears kneeling by the head of her husband’s coffin draped with the national flag and decked with flowers.

Also watch | Kisses, tears: How Brigadier LS Lidder’s wife, daughter bid him last farewell

Aashna Lidder, who was by her mother’s side, was seen fighting back tears as she said her final goodbyes to her father.

“I am going to be 17. So he was with me for 17 years, we will go ahead with happy memories… It’s a national loss. My father was a hero, my best friend…” she said after the last rites.

Also read | Counterterror specialist among victims of Coonoor crash

“Maybe it was destined and better things will come our way. He was my biggest motivator,” she also said.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh and Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar were also present at the last rites of the Brigadier Lidder.

Also read | CDS chopper crash turns spotlight on high-profile military air mishaps

The three service chiefs—Indian Army chief General MM Naravane, Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari—too paid their tributes to Brig Lidder.

The army has said the mortal remains of only three of the Coonoor chopper crash victims—General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and Brigadier Lidder—have been positively identified so far.

The other 10 defence forces personnel who died in the chopper crash are staff officer Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar and Lance Naik B Sai Teja.

In Photos | Last rites of CDS General Bipin Rawat, Brig Lakhwinder Singh Lidder

Group Captain Varun Singh is the only survivor of the crash and is now being treated at the Air Force Command hospital in Bengaluru.

General Rawat will be cremated later in the day on Friday with full military honours.

The Centre has ordered a ‘tri service’ inquiry into the accident, to be headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, the air officer commanding-in-chief of Training Command.

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