Marshal of the Air Force on Field Marshal: A leading field commander

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New Delhi, Jun 30 (UNI) Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh today described Field Marshal S H F J Manekshaw as one of leading field commanders in Indian history.

The Marshal of the Air Force was one of the first to register his condolences on the demise of ''Sam Bahadur'' in a special Home Book placed next to the martyr's memorial at India Gate.

Arjan Singh is now the country's only five star rank military officer. Army's two Field Marshals were K M Carriappa and Sam Manekshaw. Field Marshal Cariappa had died in May, 1993. The Navy does not have an Admiral of the Fleet -- its five star ranked officer.

Defence Minister A K Antony led the nation in paying tributes to country's first filed Marshal who died at a military hospital in Tamil Nadu on June 27 after prolonged illness.

Mr Antony termed Sam Manekshaw ''the Marshal who led from the front.'' The three Service chiefs, led by Admiral Sureesh Mehta -- the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff, General Deepak Kapoor and Air Chief Marshal F H Major also signed the homage book.

The top leadership of the Armed Forces had come under sharp criticism recently for failing to attend the last rites of S H F J Manekshaw. While the Army Chief was in Moscow, the Navy Chief and the Air Chief were in the National Capital when ''Sam Bahadur'' was given a send-off at Ooty.

The common man too queued up to register his condolences on the demise of Sam Bahadur. School students, senior citizens and some foreign tourists lined up for hours to place their homage.

The book will be kept at India Gate till July 2. People can place their condolences between 0900 hrs and 1630 hrs, Army sources said.


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