OUR CORRESPONDENT /NEW DELHI
Marshall of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh died today. He passed away in Delhi at the the Army Research and Referral hospital. Minister of State for External Affairs,Govt. of India informed about the death in latest tweet. Earlier there was a controversy over his death.
MARSHAL OF THE AIR FORCE ARJAN SINGH, DFC, PADMA VIBHUSHAN ,PASSED AWAY AT 7.47 PM TODAY AT ARMY http://HOSPITAL.RIP . SALUTE TO HIM.
Arjan Singh was 98. He was admitted to the hospital after he complained of uneasiness.
Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC, Padma Vibhushan awardee was the only officer of the Indian Air Force to be promoted to five-star rank, equal to a Field Marshal, to which he was promoted in 2002.
In 2016, the IAF named its Panagarh (West Bengal) air base after Arjan Singh on the occasion of his 97th birth anniversary. The Panagarh base would be called Air Force Station Arjan Singh. He is the only living officer to have a base named after him.
In his glorious career, Arjan Singh flew over 60 different kinds of aircraft and his zest for flying didn’t end until the day he retired in 1969.
When he was Chief of Air Staff, the IAF acquired supersonic fighters, strategic reconnaissance aircraft, tactical transport aircraft and assault helicopters, many of which are still in service today.
Earlier, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and IAF chief BS Dhanoa visited the hospital.
He was Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) from August 1, 1964 to July 15, 1969, and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1965.
He became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force to be upgraded to the position of Air Chief Marshal from the rank of Chief of the Air Staff in recognition of his Air Force’s contribution in the 1965 war.
Arjan Singh was one pilot who grew up in the annals of the air force as the first chief for leading the force into war. He was Chief of Air Staff when the IAF saw action in its first combat of the modern age in 1965. He was hardly 44 years years of age when entrusted with the responsibility of leading the Indian Air Force.
Arjan Singh was born on 15 April 1919, in Lyalpur, completing his education at Montgomery. He was still in college in 1938, 19 years of age when he was selected for the Empire Pilot training course at RAF Cranwell.
He took retirement from services in 1970 at the age of 50.
In 1971, he was appointed as the Indian Ambassador to Switzerland. He concurrently served as the Ambassador to the Vatican.
The man who led the IAF in the 1965 war has sold off his farm near Delhi, and entrusted a corpus of Rs 2 crore to a trust devoted to the welfare of retired Air Force personnel. Known for personal probity and punctiliousness, the MIAF has set a wonderful example in using personal wealth for the welfare of others.
“This is leadership from the front, which the IAF has seen right from the time he joined it in 1939, the gallantry in the Imphal campaign of 1944 and the conflict of 1965. It is unprecedented and completely selfless, which is what his actions have been throughout,” says Pushpinder Singh, editor of the Vayu Aerospace Review.
The Marshal of Air Force and Mrs Arjan Singh Trust will seek to open avenues of financial relief for ex-IAF personnel and their dependents who need assistance.