He led the IAF during the India-Pak war at age 44 Arjan Singh, ’65 war hero, dead
New Delhi, Sept. 16: War hero Marshal Arjan Singh, who led the Indian Air Force during the 1965 IndiaPakistan conflict, died on Saturday night. IAF sources said he passed away around 7.30 p.m.
Ninety-eight-year-old Singh, the only officer of the IAF to be promoted to five-star rank, equal to a Field Marshal in the Army, was admitted to the Army’s Research and Referral hospital on Saturday morning after he suffered a cardiac arrest, the defence ministry said. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three Service chiefs — Gen. Bipin Rawat, Admiral Sunil Lanba and Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa — visited Singh at the hospital. An icon in the country’s military history, Singh had led a fledgling IAF in the 1965 Indo-Pak war when he was just a 44year-old. As Pakistan launched its Operation Grand Slam with an armoured thrust targeted at the vital town of Akhnoor in J&K, he led the IAF through the war with courage and determination.
The fighter pilot, who inspired the IAF despite constraints on the full-scale use of air combat power, was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1965.