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India Bids Farewell to Marshal Arjan Singh With Fly Past and 17-Gun Salute

As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, a state funeral will be accorded and national flag will fly half-mast on the day of the funeral in Delhi on all buildings where it is flown regularly.

Updated:September 18, 2017, 12:00 PM IST
India Bids Farewell to Marshal Arjan Singh With Fly Past and 17-Gun Salute
Marshal Arjan Singh’s funeral procession underway on Monday.
New Delhi: Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, who passed away at the Army's Research and Referral Hospital on Saturday, was given a state funeral at Brar Square in the national capital on Monday. In honour of the hero, the Tricolour will fly at half-mast in all government buildings in Delhi on Monday.

The war hero’s cortege left on a gun carriage from his 7-A Kautilya Marg residence at 8 am towards Brar Square, where a host of dignitaries, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, BJP veteran LK Advani, paid their last respects to the war hero.

Arjan Singh, the hero of the 1965 India-Pakistan war and the only Air Force officer to be promoted to five-star rank, died at the age of 98 at an Army hospital here.

He was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the IAF when he was only 44 years old, a task he carried out with elan. He was the chief of the IAF when it found itself at the forefront of the 1965 conflict. Singh, who had flown more than 60 different types of aircraft, had played a major role in transforming the IAF into one of the most potent air forces globally and the fourth biggest in the world.

Singh was honoured with the rank of Marshal on the Republic Day in 2002. Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw and K M Cariappa were the only two army generals honoured with the rank of field marshal.

Known as a man of few words, he was not only a fearless fighter pilot but had profound knowledge about air power which he applied in a wide spectrum of air operations. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour, in 1965.

Marshal_Arjan_Singh (1)

In 1944, the Marshal had led a squadron against the Japanese during the Arakan Campaign, flying close air support missions during the crucial Imphal Campaign and later assisted the advance of the Allied Forces to Yangoon.

In recognition of his feat, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) on the spot by the Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia, the first Indian pilot to receive it.

Singh was selected for the Empire Pilot training course at Royal Air Force (RAF) Cranwell in 1938 when he was 19 years old. He retired from service in 1969.

On Sunday, President Ram Nath Kovind had led the nation in paying final tributes to Marshal Arjan Singh at his residence. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman laid a wreath on behalf of herself and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Gujarat for the inauguration of Sardar Sarovar Dam. Former PM Manmohan Singh, BJP leader LK Advani also paid respects to the war hero. The three service chiefs — Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, Naval chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat — were also present.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat described the five-star ranking officer as "a legend, an icon, a pilot-chief who led from the front and a philanthropist to the core". He recalled Singh's immense contribution as the Air Chief during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, the first major air battle of the IAF after independence.

"It was to his credit that despite initial setbacks, we were able to 'overcome and overwhelm' the enemy and spoil their design to annex Jammu and Kashmir," Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa told reporters.

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