Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh dies at 98

17 September, 2017, 03:20 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • 98-year-old IAF Marshal Arjan Singh critically ill, admitted to the Army Hospital

Arjan Singh, Indian Air Force Marshal and Padma Vibhushan awardee has passed away today in Delhi.

A statement from the Ministry of Defence said Singh was admitted to the hospital on Saturday morning following a cardiac arrest, and breathed his last at 7.47 p.m.

The Prime Minister highlighted Singh's discipline saying that when he visited him earlier in the day in the hospital, the 98-year-old veteran "tried to get up to salute even though I said no".

Amidst the media report of he death of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, the government has officially stated that he is alive but critical.

In 2015, at the age of 96, the nation watched as the Marshal of the IAF reached the Palam Airport on July 28 where the body of former President and India's missile man A.P.J.Abdul Kalam was brought.

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Following his demise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the nation would always remain indebted towards him for the "outstanding service in 1965 war" against Pakistan. Born on April 15, 1919 in Pakistan's Faisalabad to a military family, he joined the Indian Air Force at the age of 19.

"India will never forget the excellent leadership of Arjan Singh in 1965, when the IAF saw substantial action", the PM said in a series of tweets.

Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh with Plaback singer Mohammad Rafi. He fought for British Indian Army in 1944 in world war 2 in Burma and was awarded Distinguished Flying Cross for "fearless and exceptional" service in 1944. Promoted to Air Vice Marshal, he was the AOC-in-C of Operational Command. Also, during the war, the IAF played a stellar role in providing the initiative to India despite the Pakistani Air Force having United States supplied jet fighters.

1974: Appointed Indian High Commissioner to Kenya. The subsequent year, he led the forces into the war with Pakistan, which marked the greatest feat of his military career. Singh served as a member of the National Commission for Minorities and was also the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.

On August 1, 1964, in the rank of Air Marshal, he took the reins of the IAF at a time when the force was still rebuilding itself and was gearing up to meet new challenges. He was made Marshal of the Air Force in January 2002. And the IAF did strike the Pakistani offensive in an hour. He had inspired the IAF despite constraints on the full-scale use of air combat power.

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