President Ram Nath Kovind led the nation today in paying final tributes to Marshal Arjan Singh, hero of 1965 India-Pakistan war and the only Air Force officer to be promoted to five-star rank. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman laid a wreath on behalf of herself and Prime MinisterNarendra Modi, who is in Gujarat for the inauguration of Sardar Sarovar Dam.
The three service chiefs –Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, Naval chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat — as well as Minister of State Housing and Urban Affairs,Hardeep Puri were also present. Among other dignitaries who were seen streaming in were Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, MoS for External Affairs and former Army chief V K Singh, former defence minister A K Antony and Congress MP Karan Singh.
Former Indian Air Force (IAF) chiefs S P Tyagi, N C Suri and Anil Y Tipnis as well as several decorated officers who served under Arjan Singh during the 1965 war 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 B S Dhanoa told reporters.Arjan Singh’s daughter, Asha Singh, and other members of the family, including his niece and actor Mandira Bedi, were present at the officer’s residence, where his mortal remains lie in state.His son Arvind Singh is expected to arrive later this evening from Arizona,US.Read More