The nation on Monday bade a teary farewell to the Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh as the legendary warrior was laid to rest with full state honours including a fly past by fighter jets as Singh’s body was consigned to flames amid chanting of hymns at the Brar Square in Delhi Cantonment in the presence of several senior political leaders and top brass of the Indian Military.
A 17 gun salute was given to Singh while IAF Sukhoi fighter jets carried out a fly past in the ‘missing man formation’ in honour of the 1965 war hero who died on Saturday. There was a fly past by IAF choppers also. The missing man formation is an aerial manoeuvre to show respect to a departed military leader.
The national flag flew at half-mast at all government buildings in the national capital in the honour of the iconic hero of the 1965 India-Pakistan war, who was the only IAF officer to be promoted to five-star rank.
Earlier, Singh’s body, wrapped in a flag, was taken to the Brar Square crematorium from his residence on a gun carriage.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three service chiefs were among those present at the crematorium. A number of former chiefs of the Army and Indian Air Force and Singh’s family members paid tributes to the departed military icon at Brar Sqare. A lot of people including Sitharaman were seen getting emotional when Singh’s body was consigned to the flames.
One of the finest soldiers of India, Singh, who had led an young Indian Air Force during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, died on Saturday following a cardiac arrest at the age of 98. All senior officers of the three services were present at the Brar Square besides several political leaders including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP veteran L K Advani.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Singh’s residence yesterday and paid glowing tributes to the war hero.
Singh, the only officer to attain the highest post of Marshal of the Air Force, a rank equivalent to the Army’s five star field marshal, was a fearless and exceptional pilot who played a major role in transforming the IAF into one of the most potent air forces globally and the fourth biggest in the world.
Known as a man of few words, Singh was a fearless pilot and had profound knowledge about air power and applied it in a wide spectrum of areas. Singh had assiduously led the IAF during the 1965 war and denied success to Pakistan’s air force though it was better equipped with American support.