The Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, 98, passed away following cardiac arrest on September 16 at Delhi's Army Research and Referal Hospital. He was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition earlier that day.
All you need to know about the Marshal of the Air Force
1. Arjan Singh was born on April 15, 1919 in Pakistan's Faisalabad to a military family. At the age of 19, he joined the Indian Air Force. A year later, he was commissioned from England's Royal Air Force College Cranwell.
2. He will be remembered for his remarkable operational tenures on the Burma Front during World War 2.
3. He was described as a fearless and exceptional pilot. He became the first Indian pilot to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) by the Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia.
4. Arjan Singh held the command of Indian Air Force's operational Group till December 1952, and then again from December 1955 to April 1959.
5. To take a number of courses in military academics, Singh was sent to RAF Staff College-Brackwell, Joint Services Staff College, and London's Imperial Defence College, after Independence.
6. On August 1964, Arjan Singh took charge as the IAF's third Indian Chief of Air staff at the age of 45. For his contributions in the 1965 Indo-Pak war, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1965.
7. He retired at the age of 50 and became one of the longest-serving chiefs of the Army services in India.
8. He was made India's Ambassador to Switzerland in 1971 and then the Indian High Commissioner in Kenya in 1974.
9. Arjan Singh became the only IAF officer to be promoted to five-star rank in 2002.
10. To pay tribute to him, West Bengal's Air Force base at Panagarh was named as Air Force Station Arjan Singh last year.
Arjan Singh was accorded a state funeral in New Delhi’s Brar Square on September 18. The national flag flew at half-mast at all government buildings in his honour. Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa paid their last respects to the Marshal of IAF.
“As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, a state funeral will be accorded and national flag will fly half-mast on the day of the funeral (September 18) in Delhi at all buildings where it is flown regularly,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said.
From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, all have condoled the demise of the Marshal of the Air Force. Here’s how everyone expressed their grief:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the residence of Arjan Singh, a day after he passed away, to pay tributes. PM Modi wrote a message in the condolence book at the residence of Marshal of Indian Air Force.
"Arjan Singh led effective, amazing and dedicated life. He was epitome of valour and bravery. He was a rare combination of heights and depths. He was totally dedicated to India through his post, prestige and values. I salute the warrior who always gave feeling of soldier's bravery and etiquette," wrote PM Modi in condolence book.
President Ram Nath Kovind said, “Sad at demise of a great air warrior & Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. Condolences to his family & IAF community.”
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Great loss. Government will be doing maximum to extend the honour Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh deserves.”
Congress President Sonia Gandhi said, “Air Marshall, Shri Arjan Singh was an outstanding soldier and a diplomat who led from the front. Shri Arjan Singh will be particularly remembered for his successful operation tenure on the Burma Front during World War II.”
Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Deeply saddened to learn about the demise of 1965 war hero Air Marshal Arjan Singh. Salute to the brave soldier of mother India.”
Pranab Mukherjee said, “As an outstanding soldier who led from the front, a diplomat and an administrator #ArjanSingh will forever be remembered. #CitizenMukherjee”