Arjan Singh was a distinguished air warrior: PM Modi

98-year-old IAF Marshal Arjan Singh critically ill, admitted to the Army Hospital

He was admitted earlier in the day following a cardiac arrest. He was also India's oldest, five-star ranked air force officer.

He also lauded Singhs "outstanding services" as ambassador to various countries, High Commissioner to Kenya, Member of National Minorities Commission and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. Even being a nonagenarian he walked ram-rod straight and went to Delhi airport to pay his last respect when former President APJ Abdul Kalam's mortal remains were flown in from Shillong two years ago.

Singh was the IAF chief from August 1964-69. "Condolences to his family & IAF community".

Throughout the 1965 war, Singh showed exemplary leadership, and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his leadership and subsequently the rank of the CAS was upgraded to that of Air Chief Marshal.

BJP president Amit Shah, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad and Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala condoled the death of Singh.

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He was born on April 15, 1919 in Pakistan's Faisalabad in a military family and joined the air force when he was only 19 in 1938.

As India declared Independence on August 15, 1947, Singh led the fly-past of more than a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort. An icon in the country's military history, Singh had led a fledgeling IAF in the 1965 Indo-Pak when he was just a 44- year-old. Pakistan was targetting the vital town of Akhnoor in Jammu and Kashmir as part of Operation Grand Slam.

Praising Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh, PM Modi stated that the nation will never forget the excellent leadership of Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh in 1965, when the IAF saw substantial action.

He was promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader in 1944 and led the squadron against the Japanese during the Arakan Campaign - flying close air support missions during the crucial Imphal Campaign and later assisting the advance of the Allied Forces to Rangoon. Field Marshal K M Cariappa, the first commander-in-chief of the Army, died in 1993 at the age of 94.

Singh used to often tell reporters that the uniform which he wore after getting commissioned still fit him years after he retired. During his tenure as Air Force chief, IAF acquired modern fighters, reconnaissance aircraft, transport planes and tactical helicopters. But, his mind and speech was still clear.

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