Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh died at 7.47 pm on Saturday at New Delhi’s Army Hospital Research And Referral, where he was admitted in the morning after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 98.
Born in 1919, the Padma Vibhushan recipient was the only Air Force officer to have been promoted to a five-star rank. He was promoted to the lifelong rank in 2002. Singh was chief of air staff from 1964 to 1969.
Singh was only 45 years old when he was appointed Chief of the Air Staff.
He became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force, upgraded from the rank of Chief of the Air Staff in recognition of his Air Force’s contribution in the 1965 war.
After he took early retirement, Singh served as the Indian Ambassador to Switzerland, Vatican and as the High Commissioner to Kenya. He was a member of the National Commission for Minorities during 1975-1981 and served as Lt Governor of Delhi between 1989-1990.
After the death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in 2008, Singh was the only living Indian military officer with a five-star rank.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman both visited the 98-year-old on Saturday, as did Air Force chief BS Dhanoa.