Rahul goofs up again, terms Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh Air Marshal

Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh. Source Twitter Harjinder S Kukreja

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled how Marshal Arjan Singh remained a consummate soldier even when suffering from ill health.

Arjan Singh was admitted in the hospital earlier today, following a cardiac arrest.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted to say: "Marshal of the IAF, Arjan Singh lived his life like a soldier".

Arjan Singh became the youngest IAF chief at the age of 44, when he led the airforce in a war with Pakistan in 1965.

Arjan Singh was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his leadership of the air force, and subsequently in recognition of the air force's contribution in the war, the rank of the CAS was upgraded to that of Air Chief Marshal and Arjan Singh became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force.

Led by a 45-year-old who had taken over just a year earlier, the Air Force had stolen the initiative and initial advantage of Pakistan and out-foxed Pakistan Air Force which had top of line USA jets as against India's old Gnats and Vampire fighters.

After his retirement from the air force, Singh was appointed as the India's Ambassador to Switzerland in 1971 and concurrently served as the Ambassador to the Vatican.

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Expressing his concern, Prime Minister Modi tweeted,"Went to R&R Hospital to see Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, who is critically ill. From there of course, we were in touch with the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister also came, spoke with the family", Sitharaman said. "Doctors are doing their best", Modi said in a series of tweets. Singh was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by Louis Mountbatten, then supreme Allied commander, Southeast Asia, who described him as "a fearless and exceptional pilot". In the 1965 war with Pakistan, he led the IAF operations that pushed back the Pakistani offensive.

Interestingly, the man, who rose to be the first Marshal of the air force, nearly got himself court-martialled in 1945 during World War II.

Singh had the unique honour of leading a flypast of over 100 IAF aircraft over the Red Fort on August 15, 1947 when India attained Independence.

The rank of Marshal was accorded to him on Republic Day, 2002.

- Marshal of IAF, Arjan Singh led No. 1 Squadron, Indian Air Force into combat during the Arakan Campaign in 1944.

In his unparalleled career, Singh flew over 60 different types of aircraft from pre-World War II era biplanes to the more contemporary Gnats & Vampires, besides transport aircraft.

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