Ar­jan Singh, IAF Mar­shal and war hero, dies aged 98

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - Front Page - Rahul Singh rahul.singh@hin­dus­tan­

Mar­shal of the In­dian Air Force, Ar­jan Singh, died on Satur­day af­ter he was put on ven­ti­la­tor sup­port in an “ex­tremely crit­i­cal state”.

In a state­ment, the In­dian Air Force (IAF) said Singh died at 7:47pm af­ter be­ing ad­mit­ted to the Army’s R&R hos­pi­tal fol­low­ing a car­diac ar­rest.

The for­mer IAF chief had played a key role in In­dia’s vic­tory in the 1965 war against Pak­istan. Singh was the IAF chief from Au­gust 1964-69. He was the first In­dian Air Chief to be el­e­vated to the rank of Air Chief Mar­shal on Jan­uary 16, 1966.

In recog­ni­tion of his life­long ser­vices, the gov­ern­ment con­ferred the rank of the “Mar­shal of the In­dian Air Force” on Ar­jan Singh on Jan­uary 28, 2002 mak­ing him the first and the only ‘Five Star’ rank of­fi­cer with the In­dian Air Force. Mar­shal of the Air Force is equiv­a­lent to a Field Mar­shal in the army.

Ear­lier in the evening, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and de­fence min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man met Singh at the hos­pi­tal. He was ad­mit­ted to the in­ten­sive care unit of the hos­pi­tal af­ter car­dio­vas­cu­lar com­pli­ca­tions.

“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,” the Prime Min­is­ter tweeted.

Ac­cord­ing to the IAF’s of­fi­cial web­site, Singh’s “test­ing time came in Septem­ber 1965, when the sub­con­ti­nent was plunged into war. When Pak­istan launched its Op­er­a­tion Grand Slam, in which an ar­moured thrust tar­geted the vi­tal town of Akhnur, he was sum­moned into the de­fence min­is­ter’s of­fice with a re­quest for air sup­port.”

“With a char­ac­ter­is­tic non-cha­lance, he replied ‘ an hour.’ And true enough, the air force struck the Pak­istani of­fen­sive in an hour. He led the air force through the war show­ing suc­cess­ful lead­er­ship and ef­fort.”

He also held the view that the IAF should have been used in the 1962 In­dia-China war.


Ar­jan Singh

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