The Marshal of Air Force, a war hero and a legendary fighter pilot, Arjan Singh is laid to rest on 18 September in New Delhi with full military honours. This 98 year old legendary fighter pilot died due to cardiac arrest. To pay tribute to the only five-star rank Air Force officer, the national flag is being flown at half-mast at all government buildings in Delhi today in tribute.
Wrapped in the flag, Arjan singh’s body was taken from his home to the Delhi Cantonment in a gun carriage decorated with marigold flowers. In honour of Arjan Singh, a 17-gun salute and a fly past by IAF’s Sukhoi-30 fighter jets was also carried out.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman paid tribute to Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Army chief Dalbir Singh and BJP leader LK Advan were also present. The chiefs of the Air Force, the Army and the Navy also paid tributes at the last rites ceremony. PM Modi also extended his tribute to Marshal of IAF.
Talking about honour and achievements, he was one of only three men to have been elevated to a five-star rank, equivalent to a Field Marshal in the army. Arjan Singh had the honour of leading the fly-past of more than a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort on India’s first Independence Day, August 15, 1947. For his meritorious services during the 1965 Indo-Pak War, Arjan Singh was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan.
Arjan Singh was born on April 15, 1919, in Lyallpur (now in Pakistan) to a family of soldiers. After completing his education, he joined the nascent IAF in 1938. He was commissioned from the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell in the UK in December 1939.
Arjan Singh took post as Air Marshal in IAF in August 1964. On January 15, 1966, he became the first officer of the IAF to be promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal, at par with a General. He continued to serve the country in various capacities even after retirement in July 1969. In 1971, he was made India’s Ambassador to Switzerland and in 1974, the High Commissioner to Kenya. He also served as a member of the Minorities Commission and as the Lt Governor of Delhi.