To honour India's oldest serving soldier, Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh - who recently turned 97 - the crucial Air Force base at Panagarh in West Bengal was named as Air Force Station Arjan Singh.
This is the first time that a military installation is named after a living person, he is the only officer of the Indian Air Force to be promoted to five-star rank, and in recognition of his lifelong services, he was honoured with the rank of Marshal of the Indian Air Force, which is equivalent to the Army's Field Marshal, to which he was promoted on the Republic Day of 2002. Presently, he is the only living Indian military officer with five-star rank after Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who passed away in June 2008.
Chief of Air Staff Arup Raha made the announcement in the function to mark the birthday of the Marshal of Air Force. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag and several other former chiefs attended the function to facilitate the award on his birthday.
Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh 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. .
The Air Force played a crucial role during the 1965 war by stealing the initiative and initial advantage of Pakistan. With careful planning, unmatched insight and wisdom, then Chief of Air Staff, Arjan Singh, out-foxed Pakistan Air Force which had top of line US jets as against India's old Gnats and Vampire fighters.
As an epitome of a military leader, he is in the great fitness of things and truly a grand morale booster to the officers and men, of the Indian Air Force.