11 rare photographs of late Marshal Arjan Singh show a soldier's life well lived

Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, known for his exemplary leadership during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, was laid to rest with full state honours on September 18

Indian Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh was laid to rest on Monday with full state honours in Delhi’s Brar Square. The 1965 Indo-Pak war hero was accorded a state funeral with the three service chiefs, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani attending his last rites. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Singh’s residence on September 17 and paid their tributes. Singh, the lone Marshal of the IAF, passed away on September 16 following a cardiac arrest after being admitted to Army’s Research and Referral Hospital.

Born on April 15, 1919, in Lyallpur (now Pakistan), Arjan Singh joined the Indian Air Force in 1938. Early in his career, Singh displayed exemplary leadership in Burma during the Second World War. Lord Mountbatten awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravado in defeating the Japanese. However, Singh’s defining moment in 1965 Indo-Pakistan war when the neighbouring country under General Ayub Khan unleashed Operation Grand Slam to cut off J&K from the rest of India. Having taken over as Air Marshal in 1964, Singh led IAF to one of its biggest aerial victories over the Pakistani counterparts. The Indian fighter jets carried out attacks deep into the enemy territories that included the airfields of Peshawar and Mauripur.

Here are some rare photographs of Marshal Arjan Singh that you should not miss.

Also read:  This 1971 war hero was the only Indian Air Force pilot to be awarded Param Vir Chakra

Singh served as a Pilot Officer with the Tigers Squadron and then as the commander of the same squadron during World War II.

Lal Bahadur Shastri was the prime minister during the 1965 India-Pakistan war. Arjan Singh later told the Indian Express,

When the talk about ceasefire started, I had advised Shastriji (Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri), who was under enormous international pressure, against accepting it. On the other hand, Pakistan was losing its aircraft at a fast rate and was keen on accepting the ceasefire. However, because of international pressure and other considerations, India agreed to the ceasefire.

Also read: MiG to Sukhoi: 10 powerful aircraft of the Indian Air Force fleet

Arjan Singh

Arjan Singh with former president Dr Zakir Hussain and then I&B minister Indira Gandhi at an event in 1965. (Photo: Express)

After retiring from the Indian Air Force, Marshal Arjan Singh was appointed India’s Ambassador to Switzerland in 1971 and also served as an envoy to the Vatican. Later, he was appointed as a High Commissioner to Kenya in 1974.

Singh also served as the chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities and as the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.  On Republic Day in 2002, he was made the Marshal of the Indian Air Force.

Marshal Arjan Singh

Arjan Singh with film actress Sadhana and Defence Minister YB Chavan. (Photo: Express)

Air Marshal Arjan Singh was also a popular face in the film fraternity. In this photograph, he can be seen felicitating singer Mahendra Kapoor at an event.

Air Marshal Arjan Singh felicitates singer Mahendra Kapoor at an event. (Photo: Express)

Check out another photograph of the valiant IAF officer.

(L-R) BR Chopra, Balraj Sahni and Air Marshal Arjan Singh at the premiere of film Waqt. (Photo: Express)

Also read: Narendra Modi hailed this 1965 Indo-Pak war hero for his valour. Here’s all you need to know about him

Marshal Arjan Singh, Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar and Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh during a function to grant IAF’s honorary Group Captain to the master blaster in New Delhi. (Photo: Express)

Marshal Arjan Singh, AK Antony

Marshal Arjan Singh with former defence minister AK Antony and ex-army chief General Bikram Singh during a ceremony to pay tribute to the 1962 Indo-China war martyrs

Singh was India’s only five-star ranked air force officer. He was 98 at the time of his death.

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