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Nation pays homage to Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh

Last updated on: September 18, 2017 08:31 IST

A state funeral will be accorded to Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh and the national flag will fly at half mast in all government buildings in New Delhi on Monday in his honour. 


IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays his respects to Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. 
Photograph: @PMOIndia/Twitter

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation on Sunday in paying tributes to Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, the hero of 1965 India-Pakistan war and one of the country's legendary fighters.

Modi drove straight to Singh's residence in the national capital on his return from a day-long visit to Gujarat, and paid his respects to Singh, the only Air Force officer to have been accorded the five-star rank.


IMAGE: Modi writes a message of condolence at Singh's residence. Photograph: Press Information Bureau 

The prime minister also wrote a message of condolence at Singh's residence and interacted with his family members.

"My tributes to the brave soldier who had a fighter's qualities of valour and courtesy. His life was dedicated to Mother India," Modi wrote in Gujarati in his message in the condolence book at Singh's residence.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Singh will be accorded a state funeral, and if weather permits, a flypast by military aircraft will be given to him. She said he had played a pivotal role in transforming the IAF into one of the leading air forces in the world.


IMAGE: PM Modi also interacted with Singh's family members. Photograph: Press Information Bureau 

Sitharaman said the state funeral will be held from 9:30 am onwards at Brar Square near Naraina in the national capital. All three service chiefs and many top functionaries of the government are expected to attend the funeral.

Earlier President Ram Nath Kovind, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, visited Singh's 7, Kautilya Marg residence.

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.


IMAGE: President Ram Nath Kovind, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, pays his last respect to Singh. Photograph: Press Information Bureau 

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 chiefs S P Tyagi, N C Suri and Anil Y Tipnis as also several decorated officers who served under Arjan Singh during the 1965 war were 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".


IMAGE: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said if weather permits, a flypast by military aircraft will be given to Singh. Photograph: Press Information Bureau 

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 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 lay in state. His son Arvind Singh will arrive from Arizona, US.


IMAGE: IAF Chief Birender Singh Dhanoa also visited Singh's 7, Kautilya Marg residence. Photograph: Indian Air Force

The tricolour will fly at half mast at all government buildings in the national capital tomorrow in the honour of the military legend.

The IAF patriarch will be given a state funeral at 9.30 am tomorrow at Brar Square, Sitharaman told reporters.

The gun carriage with mortal remains of Singh will leave his residence at 8.30 am.

Arjan Singh's family has also planned a ritual for the funeral.

An icon of India's military history, 98-year-old Singh breathed his last at an Army hospital in New Delhi on Saturday.

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