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Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh cremated with full state honour

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 18, 2017 21:59 IST
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War hero Arjan Singh, who led India's Air Force against Pakistan in 1965, was on Monday cremated with full state honours, as fighter jets paid homage to him in a flypast and guns boomed a last salute to the only Marshal of the force.

IMAGE: The mortal remains of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh being taken on a gun carriage to the Brar Square for his last rites with state honours. Photograph: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo

The body of the 98-year-old legendary aviator was consigned to the flames by his son Arvind amid chantings of Sikh hymns at the Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment in the presence of several senior political leaders and the top brass of the Indian military.


A 17-gun salute was given in his honour while the IAF paid homage to the iconic hero of the 1965 war with a flypast of Sukhoi Su 30 fighter jets in the 'missing man formation' -- an aerial manoeuvre to show respect to a departed military leader.

IMAGE: Air Force fighter jets carry out fly-past in a missing man formation over the Delhi Cantonment during the last rites of the Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh. Photograph: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo

Mi-17 V5 helicopters flying in a 'vic' formation and trooping IAF colours carried out another flypast in honour of Singh, who died of a cardiac arrest on Saturday.

"End of an Era-Last Salute to the Brave Air warrior and a great leader," the IAF tweeted.

IMAGE: Air Force personnel carry the tricolour-draped coffin containing the mortal remains of the Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh during his last rites with state honours, at Brar Square. Photograph: PTI Photo

The national flag flew at half-mast at all government buildings in the national capital in honour of Singh.

Earlier, Singh's body, wrapped in the Indian tricolour, was taken to the Brar Square crematorium from his central Delhi residence, 7 Kautilya Marg, on a gun carriage.

IMAGE: Defence personnel accompany the procession for the state funeral of Marshal Arjan Singh in New Delhi on Monday. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI Photo

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Bharatiya Janata Party veteran L K Advani, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and Army chief General Bipin Rawat were among those present at the crematorium.

A number of former service chiefs, senior officials of the three services and Singh's family members also paid their tributes to the departed military icon at Brar Square.

IMAGE: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman lays a wreath during last rites ceremony of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh at Brar Square in New Delhi on Monday. Photograph: @DefenceMinIndia/Twitter

One of the finest soldiers of India, Singh had led a young Indian Air Force during the 1965 India-Pakistan war.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Singh's residence on Sunday and paid glowing tributes to the war hero. 

IMAGE: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the funeral. Photograph: PTI Photo

 Singh is the only officer to have attained the highest rank of the Marshal of the Air Force, equivalent to the Army's five star field marshal, an honour given only to Sam Manekshaw and KM Cariappa.

Singh 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, former colleagues said. 

IMAGE: The national flag is seen at half mast at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI Photo

Though known as a man of few words, Singh had deep knowledge of air power and applied it to a wide spectrum of areas, said Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Kapil Kak, a former IAF vice chief.

He said 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.

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