Marshal 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.
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. He retired in 1969.
India’s oldest serving soldier Marshal Arjan Singh was hardly 44 when he took over as the chief of a young IAF in 1964. That was the pinnacle of the career of a pilot, who grew up in the annals of the Air Force as the first Indian chief to lead the force into a war.
In recognition of his services, he was conferred the rank of the Marshal of the Air Force in January 2002, thus becoming the first and the only “Five Star” rank officer with the Indian Air Force.
In his many firsts, one was leading the fly-past over the Red Fort on August 15, 1947 — on the morning of the day India got independence.
Interestingly, the man, who rose to be the first Marshal of the air force, almost got himself court-martialled in 1945 during World War II.
Born in Lyallpur (now Pakistan’s Faislabad) on April 15, 1919, Arjan Singh hailed from a family where three generations before him had served the Army.