Mar­shal Ar­jan Singh passes away

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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