Nation mourns death of Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh
New Delhi , September 16 : Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh passed away on Saturday evening, leaving the nation in sorrow and pain.Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to extend his condolences to the great hero of the nation.
"India mourns the unfortunate demise of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh. We remember his outstanding service to the nation," his tweet read.
Prime Minister Modi further said, "Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh's determined focus on capacity building in the IAF added great strength to our defence capabilities."
Praising Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh,PM Modi stated that the nation will never forget the excellent leadership of Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh in 1965, when the IAF saw substantial action.
The Prime Minister also recalled his meet with Marshal Arjan Singh and said, "Sometime back I met him, who despite his ill health tried to get up to salute even though I said no. Such was his soldier discipline."
President Ram Nath Kovind also took to Twitter to express his grief on the icon's death.
He said, "Sad at demise of a great air warrior and Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. Condolences to his family and IAF community."
"Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh was a WW II hero and won our nation's gratitude for his military leadership in 1965 war," President Kovind added.
Here is a timeline recalling the national hero's achievements:
- Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh was born in April 15, 1919 in Lyallpur, Punjab, British India (now Faisalabad, Pakistan).
- Marshal Singh is the only officer of the Indian Air Force to be promoted to five-star rank in 2002, which is equal to a Field Marshal.
- Marshal of IAF Singh came from a family of Army background where his father was a Lance Daffadar in the Hodson's Horse at the time of his birth.
- Marshal of IAF Singh's father retired as a full Risaldar of the Cavalry, serving for a time as Assistant Division Commander (ADC) to a Division Commander.
- His grandfather Risaldar Major Hukam Singh, on the other hand, belonged to the Guides Cavalry between 1883 and 1917 and his great-grandfather, Naib Risaldar Sultana Singh was among the first two generations of the Guides Cavalry enlisted in 1854.
- Naib Risaldar Sultana Singh was martyred during the Afghan campaign of 1879.
- Marshal of IAF, Arjan Singh was educated at Montgomery, British India (now in Pakistan).
- Arjan Singh joined the newly established Indian Air Force in 1938 at the young age of 19.
- A year later, he was commissioned from England's Royal Air Force College Cranwell.
- Marshal of IAF, Arjan Singh led No. 1 Squadron, Indian Air Force into combat during the Arakan Campaign in 1944. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944, and commanded the Indian Air Force Exhibition Flight in 1945.
- Arjan Singh's two operational tenures on the Burma Front during World War II the first as a Pilot Officer with No.1 Squadron and subsequently in 1944, as Commander of the same Squadron, are said to be exceptional landmarks of his flying career.
- When India became a Republic in 1950, Arjan Singh was commanding the Operational Group, which was then responsible for all air operations from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari.
- Marshal of IAF, Arjan Singh held the Command of this Group, the only fighting arm of the IAF, till December 1952 and again from December 1955 to April 1959, initially in the rank of Air Commodore and then in the rank of Air Vice Marshal for over 6 years, which is considered longer than any other officer of the IAF.
- He was also the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), from 1 August 1964 to 15 July 1969, and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1965.
- In 1967, Arjan Singh was invited to take the salute at the passing out parade of the Royal Air Force Flying College, Cranwell, where he had first learnt flying 28 years earlier, and presented the 'Sword of Honour' to the best Cadet.
- The Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh continued to serve the country, even after retirement.In 1971, he was appointed as India's Ambassador to Switzerland. From there, in 1974 he went to Kenya, as the Indian High Commissioner, and returned to India in 1976, after having a six year long ambassadorial career.
- This is considered longer than any other officer from the Armed Forces. After a few years he became the Lt. Governor of Delhi.
- Honouring him, the West Bengal's Air Force base at Panagarh was renamed as Air Force Station Arjan Singh in 2016.
- Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh died on 16 September 2017 at 7:37 p.m. in the Army's Research and Referral hospital.
- He was 98 years old was a respectable figure of the Indian military history.