Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, who was on Saturday admitted to Army Hospital (R&R) here after a suspected massive heart attack and in a critical condition, has passed away. He was 98.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three service chiefs had earlier visited the hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where he was undergoing treatment.
Appointed Chief of Air Staff on August 1, 1964, Arjan Singh led the Indian Air Force effectively in the 1965 war with Pakistan, leading the air operations that pushed back the enemy offensive. He retired in 1969. In recognition of his services, he was conferred the rank of Marshal of the Air Force in January 2002, making him the first and the only 5-star rank officer with the IAF.
Here's who said what:
Ram Nath Kovind, President of India: Sad at demise of a great air warrior & Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. Condolences to his family & IAF community. Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh was a WW II hero & won our nation's gratitude for his military leadership in 1965 war.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India: India mourns the unfortunate demise of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh. We remember his outstanding service to the nation. Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh’s determined focus on capacity building in the IAF added great strength to our defence capabilities. India will never forget the excellent leadership of Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh in 1965, when the IAF saw substantial action.
Sometime back I met him, who despite his ill health tried to get up to salute even though I said no. Such was his soldier discipline.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 16, 2017
Nirmala Sitharama, Defence Minister: Great loss. He led an exemplary life. He fought many wars. The conduct and exemplary nature in which Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh conducted himself will be remembered for generations. Government will be doing maximum to extend the honour Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh deserves.
Pranab Mukherjee, former president of India: Saddened at the passing away of Marshal Arjan Singh. I join the nation in mourning his loss. My deepest condolences to his family. As an outstanding soldier who led from the front, a diplomat and an administrator Arjan Singh will forever be remembered.
Rajnath Singh, Home Minister: Marshal of the IAF, Arjan Singh lived his life like a soldier. The tales of his courage will remain immortal. Deeply pained at his demise. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members of Shri Arjan Singh. May God give them strength to bear this colossal loss.
भारतीय वायु सेना के मार्शल अर्जन सिंह जी का निधन देश के लिए अपूरणीय क्षति। ईश्वर से दिवंगत आत्मा की शांति के लिए प्रार्थना करता हूँ।— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) September 16, 2017
Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister: Condolences on the sad demise of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh ji. He was one of the greatest soldiers in the recent memory. My thoughts & prayers are with the family of Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh ji. A grateful nation will miss him.
Piyush Goyal, Railways Minister: Deeply saddened by the demise of IAF Marshal Arjan Singh. My condolences to his family. The nation salutes the legendary war hero.
Smriti Irani, Union Minister: Saddened by demise of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh ji. Indebted for his service to the Nation. Condolences to his loved ones.
Rahul Gandhi, Congress vice president: A soldier & diplomat par excellence,Air Marshal Arjan Singhji's demise is an irreparable loss.India has lost a true hero.Deepest condolences.
We pay our deepest respects to Marshall of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, who passed away today. pic.twitter.com/pGZSLw9nwn— Congress (@INCIndia) September 16, 2017
AK Antony, former Defence minister: Can not compare his bravery with any of the warrior. It's a national loss. He was very experinced, dedicated and a legend of Indian Air Force. He contributed a lot for the benefit of entire armed forces. He was an inspiration for the entire force. I salute to the great warrior of our country. He never showed physical weakness in any of the official functions. He was one of the greatest Indian I have personal contacts.