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Marshal Arjan Singh: A legend who keeps the spirit of IAF alive

By Chennabasaveshwar
|

Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh was laid to rest with 17-gun salute and fly past on Monday. But, he has left behind a rich legacy which will continue to inspire for generations to come.

Started as a cadet in the Royal Air Force in 1938 , Marshal Arjan Singh's exceptional career graph rose till he became Chief of Air Staff in 1964. He served Royal Indian Air Force during World War II, and was Wing Commander of Royal Indian Air Force, Ambala Air Force Station during Indo-Pakistan War of 1947. He led the Indian Air Force in Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. When appointed as Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force, he was just about 45.

Former Vice Chief of IAF Kapil Kak described him as the "epitome of military leadership in classical sense". He was the only 5 star-ranked officer to survive since the death of the hero of 1971 Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in 2008.

Even in deteriorating health condition, Arjan Singh paid last respect to former President APJ Abdul Kalam's mortal remains at AFS Palam in New Delhi. In a touching tribute, wheelchair-bound, Singh stood up to pay his last respects to the former Indian President. Arjan Singh commanded respect from politicians across political spectrum.

Arvind Singh, who flew in from the United States for his father's last rites, said he learnt humility by observing him. "One thing that struck me (about my father) was that he was always very humble. He always treated people well. If he saw a sweeper he would treat him equally and that is something I learnt from him," he said.

Arjan Singh being honoured with 'Distinguished Flying Cross'

Arjan Singh being honoured with 'Distinguished Flying Cross'

Lord Louis Mount Batten, Supreme Commander, pins Distinguished Flying Cross on Squadron Leader Arjan Singh during the battles for Impahl and Burma in 1944-45. Arjan Singh's two operational tenures on the Burma Front during World War II the first as a Pilot Officer with No.1 Squadron ("Tigers") and subsequently in 1944, as Commander of the same Squadron, are outstanding landmarks of his enviable flying career. Courtesy: Sikh-history.com

Indo-Pakistan War of 1965

Indo-Pakistan War of 1965

Air Marshal Arjan Singh DFC with Senior Army Commanders in Kashmir during the 1965 operations. Courtesy: Sikh-history.com

On 97th birthday

On 97th birthday

Indian Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh being congratulated by Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his 97th Birthday Celebration at Akash Officers' Mess in New Delhi. PTI Photo

In conversation with women fighter pilots

In conversation with women fighter pilots

Marshal of the Indian Air Force (MIAF) Arjan Singh along with Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha meeting with three newly commissioned women fighter pilots at his residence in New Delhi . PTI Photo

With the then Defense Minister

With the then Defense Minister

Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh salutes Defence Minister AK Antony at the Defence Investiture Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. PTI photo

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