Published On: Sat, Sep 16th, 2017

Marshal of Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh passes away

New Delhi: Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, who was on Saturday admitted to Army Hospital (R&R) here after a suspected massive heart attack and in a critical condition, has passed away, a defence official said. He was 98.

Arjan Singh flew over 60 different kinds of aircraft

The end came at 7.47 pm, the official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three service chiefs had earlier visited the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where he was undergoing treatment.

Appointed Chief of Air Staff on August 1, 1964, Arjan Singh led the Indian Air Force effectively in the 1965 war with Pakistan, leading the air operations that pushed back the enemy offensive.

Born on 15 April 1919 in Lyallpur, Punjab (now in Pakistan), Arjan Singh entered the distinguished Royal Air Force College at Cranwell at the age of 19 and graduated as a pilot officer the following year.

In his glorious career, Arjan Singh flew over 60 different kinds of aircraft and his zest for flying didn’t end until the day he retired in 1969.

Singh served the nation as an ambassador to Switzerland in 1971, and as High Commissioner to Kenya in 1974. Later, he also became the Lt Governor of Delhi, in 1989.

In recognition of his services, he was conferred the rank of Marshal of the Air Force in January 2002, making him the first and the only 5-star rank officer with the IAF.

Expressing condolence on the demise of Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that India will never forget his “excellent leadership” in the 1965 war with Pakistan.

“India mourns the unfortunate demise of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh. We remember his outstanding service to the nation. India will never forget the excellent leadership of Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh in 1965, when the IAF saw substantial action,” Modi said in a series of tweets.

Modi also remembered the late Marshal’s “soldier discipline”, saying that despite his ill health, Arjjan Singh tried to get up to salute the Prime Minister when he met him some time back, even though he tried to dissuade him.

“Arjan Singh’s determined focus on capacity building in the IAF added great strength to our defence capabilities. My thoughts are with his family and those mourning the demise of a distinguished air warrior and fine human, Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh,” Modi said.






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