Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh passes away after suffering heart attack

16 September, 2017, 19:22 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh with former US President Barrack Obama. Source Harjinder S Kukrejaâ€�/Twitter

Arjan Singh passed away at the Army Research and Referral Hospital here on Saturday. Arjan Singh was the only officer of the Air Force to be promoted to five-star rank.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three Service chiefs-Gen. He emerged as an icon of India's military history as he had successfully led a young IAF during the 1965 India-Pakistan war to ensure a humiliating defeat for the enemy.

Arjan Singh was the sole beneficiary of Air Force Marshal rank, the first in India. He had inspired the IAF despite constraints on the full-scale use of air combat power. Former Vice Chief of IAF Kapil Kak paid tribute by saying, "His contribution to the Indian Air Force is monumental to the least".

98-year-old Singh was the only officer of the IAF to be promoted to five-star rank, equal to a Field Marshal in the Army. He has also been awarded with Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian award, for his leadership during the war. A year later, he was commissioned from England's Royal Air Force College Cranwell.

Arjan Singh was born in 1919 at Lyallpur (Punjab), now in Pakistan.

Singh had the unique honour of leading a flypast of over 100 IAF aircraft over the Red Fort on August 15, 1947 when India attained Independence. For his operation in Burma Front during World War II, Singh became the first Indian pilot to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) by the Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia.

After his retirement, he served as India's Ambassador to Switzerland and the Vatican.

He was a five star ranked and one of the most decorated officers in the Indian Air Force.

Singh served as a member of the National Commission for Minorities and was also the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. In 2016 Air Force Station, Panagarh was renamed as Air Force Station Arjan Singh.

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