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Arjan Singh
File:Air Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh.jpg
Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh
Born 15 April 1919(1919-04-15) (age 103)
Place of birth Lyallpur, Punjab, British India
Allegiance  British India
Service/branch  Indian Air Force
Years of service 1938 – present[1]
Rank 35px Marshal of the Air Force
Commands held World War II battle Squadron Commands, Operational Command, Western Air Command, AOC-in-C of Operational Command, DCAS, VCAS
Battles/wars World War II, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Awards Padma Vibhushan, Distinguished Flying Cross

Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC (Punjabi: ਅਰਜਨ ਸਿੰਘ) (15 April 1919-) is the only officer of the Indian Air Force to be promoted to five-star rank, equal to a Field Marshal, to which he was promoted in 2002.[2] He was born in the Punjab town of Lyallpur, British India, into an Aulakh family.[3] With the death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in June 2008, he is presently the only living Indian military officer with a five-star rank.

Early life and career

Arjan Singh was born on 15 April 1919 in Lyallpur in the Punjab in what was then British India. He was educated at Montgomery, India (now in Pakistan). He entered the RAF College Cranwell in 1938 and was commissioned as a pilot officer in December 1939. As a distinguished graduate of the RAF College, Singh's portrait is now to be found on the walls of the College's west staircase.

Singh led No. 1 Squadron, Indian Air Force into command during the Arakan Campaign in 1944. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944, and commanded the Indian Air Force Exhibition Flight in 1945. Singh almost faced a court martial when he tried to raise the morale of an air force pilot by conducting a low level air pass over a house in Kerala, but he insisted that such tricks are needed for every cadet to be a fighter pilot.

Career and commands held

He was Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), from 1 August 1964 to 15 July 1969, and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1965. He also became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force when, in recognition of the Air Force's contribution in the 1965 war, the rank of the Chief of Air Staff was upgraded to that of Air Chief Marshal. After he retired in 1969 at the age of 50, he was appointed the Indian Ambassador to Switzerland in 1971. He concurrently served as the Ambassador to the Vatican. He was appointed High Commissioner to Kenya in 1974. He was member of the Minorities Commission, Government of India from 1975–1981. He was Lt. Governor of Delhi from Dec 1989 - Dec 1990 and was made Marshal of the Air Force in January, 2002.[2]

Career highlights


  1. Indian military officers of five-star rank hold their rank for life, and are considered to be serving officers until their deaths.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "br" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Roopinder Singh (2002). Arjan Singh: Marshal of The Indian Air Force. Rupa & Co. ISBN 81-7167-938-2. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Aspy Engineer
Chief of the Air Staff (India)
Succeeded by
Pratap Chandra Lal
Political offices
Preceded by
Romesh Bhandari
Lieutenant Governor of Delhi
Succeeded by
Markandey Singh

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