Marshal Arjan Singh Biography
Marshal Arjan Singh was the Chief of Air Staff when war broke out between India and Pakistan in 1965. Born on 15 April 1919, in Lyalpur, Pakistan, he was selected for the Empire Pilot training course at RAF Cranwell in 1938.
After he was commissioned, he served in the North Western Frontier Province as a member of the No.1 IAF Squadron. During the Second World War, as Squadron Leader in 1944, Arjan Singh fought the Japanese in the Arakan Campaign. For his exemplary valour, skill and devotion to duty, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944. He led the IAF fly-past on 16 August 1947 after India attained independence.
In 1949, after being promoted as Air Commodore, Arjan Singh took over as Air Officer Commanding of Operational Command, which became known as Western Air Command. He took over as Chief of Air Staff on 1 August 1964. When war broke out between India and Pakistan in September 1965, Arjan Singh effectively led the Indian Air Force in thwarting the Pakistani offensive. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan and his rank was upgraded to Air Chief Marshal. He became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force. Upon his retirement from the Air Force in August 1969, he became India’s ambassador to Switzerland.