New Delhi: Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh passed away on 7: 47 PM IST at Army Hospital today. He was admitted in the morning in critical condition with what doctor says could be ‘Cardiac arrest’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the hospital in the evening and tweeted about his condition while wishing for his early recovery.
Went to R&R Hospital to see Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, who is critically ill. I also met his family members.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 16, 2017
98-year-old Arjan Singh is the only officer of the IAF to be given a distinction equal to that of a Field Marshal.
Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh was born on April 15 Apr, 1919, in Pakistan’s Faisalabad (which was then Lyallpur, Punjab) to a military family. Singh joined a still-new 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.
For his performance, Singh became the first Indian pilot to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) by the Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia. He was described as “a fearless and exceptional pilot”.
In August 1964, Arjan Singh took charge as the IAF’s third Indian Chief of Air Staff at the age of 45.He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1965 for his contributions in the 1965 Indo-Pak War.
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.
With PTI inputs