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Marshal Of The Indian Air Force Arjan Singh Dies At 98

Marshal Of The Indian Air Force Arjan Singh Dies At 98

New Delhi: 98-year-old Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh died Saturday after he was admitted to Delhi Research and Referral hospital following a massive heart attack, news agency ANI reported.

“He was admitted to the hospital after he complained of uneasiness,” IAF said in a statement.

Arjan Singh became the youngest IAF chief at the age of 44, when he led the airforce in a war with Pakistan in 1965. Then, he became the longest-serving chief if IAF after retiring in 1970, at the age of 50.

In spite of restriction on the use of airforce in full-scale combat during the war against Pakistan, he inspired the IAF victory when Pakistan launched its Operation Grand Slam with an armoured thrust targeted at the vital town of Akhnoor.

Singh joined 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 operation in Burma Front during World War II, 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”.

After India became a republic in 1950, Arjan Singh held the command of Indian Air Force’s Operational Group till December 1952, and then again from December 1955 to April 1959.

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1965. Then he served various diplomatic tenures India’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Indian High Commissioner in Kenya in 1974 and India’s Ambassador to the Vatican.

For his contribution to the armed forces, in 2002 Singh became the only IAF officer to be promoted to five-star rank officer of Air Marshal. And IAF, in his honour named its Panagarh base as Arjan Singh Air Force Station in 2016.

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