Marshal Arjan Singh cremated with state honour

The nation bade a teary farewell to the Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, the legendary warrior who was laid to rest with full state honours at Brar Square in the national capital on Monday. In the honour of the national hero, the Tricolour Flew past at half-mast in all government buildings in Delhi.

In honour of the 1965 India- Pakistan war hero, A 17- gun salute was given to Singh while his body was consigned to flames amid chanting of Sikh hymns The 98-year-old Singh’s body was consigned to flames amid chanting of Sikh hymns. Several senior political leaders including Former Prime minister Manmohan Singh, BJP veteran LK Adwani and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman paid last respect to the war hero at the crematorium.

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

Singh, who died of the cardiac arrest, is the only officer to attain the highest post of Marshal of the Air Force, a rank equivalent to Army’s five-star field marshal.


The Indian Express, India Today

War hero, Arjan Singh, dies at 98.

Arjan Singh, a war hero and Marshal of the Indian Air Force, has died at 98. He was admitted to Army’s Research and Referral hospital in Delhi after he had a cardiac arrest on Saturday morning. He was in a critical condition when he was admitted.

Arjan Singh was the only officer in the Indian Air Force who was promoted to a five-star rank. He became famous after he led the Air Force in the India-Pakistan war of 1965 at the age of hardly 44. He severed as the IAF chief from 1964 to 1969. In January 2002, he was elevated to the rank of the Marshal of IAF.

He was visited by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in the R&R hospital. After the news of Singh’s death, the Prime Minister tweeted, “India will never forget the excellent leadership of Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh in 1965 when the IAF saw substantial action.” According to a report of NDTV, he was also visited by Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three services chief along with the Prime Minister earlier today.

Singh had served as India’s ambassador to Switzerland, Vatican and Kenya. He was also appointed as the Lt. Governor of Delhi in 1989.


Sources: TOI, Indian Express

Image Source: Hindustan Times

Supreme Court rules in favour of IAF – no beards

On Thursday, December 15 the Supreme Court ruled that disallowing Air Force personnel from wearing long beards did not “interfere” with freedom of religion.

Upholding the removal of an Air Force man for keeping a beard, the court said that the rules of the armed forces called for discipline and uniformity.

The bench led by Chief Justice TS Thakur quashed the petition of one Ansari Aftab Ahmed who was earlier discharged from service in 2008. His petition spoke about his fundamental right to freedom of religion – seeking equality with Sikhs who have been allowed to sport unshorn hair and a turban.

The centre’s decision to prevent personnel of a certain community from sporting a beard does not violate fundamental rights of the Indian Constitution.

The second petition filed by Mohammed Zubair questioned the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) decision to prohibit Muslim personnel from sporting a beard.

The Centre also said that the order was in the interest of unifying the combat force while another reason was purely security related. The IAF is a secular force and has due respect for all religions – the forces follow a sense of kinship and do not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed colour or religion.

SOURCES: The Indian Express, India Today

Image Source: The Hindu

Soviet Made Planes AN 32 To Have Underwater Locator Beacons

The aircraft AN 32 of the Indian Air Force(IAF), which went missing on the July 22,  over the Bay of Bengal lacked Underwater Locator Beacon(ULB). The device transmits signals at ultra low level frequencies which can travel through water. No AN 32 aircrafts have ULB installed.

The missing aircraft had two Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) one in the cockpit and the other in the tail fin. The battery life of the two ELT is not more than 72 hours and fails to function under water.

The IAF is now trying to install Underwater Locator Beacons in all the AN 32, as per the TOI.

According to the Indian Express, in the absence of the ULB, the search team has been looking for clues of any wreckage, oil slick of aviation turbine fuel or any other visual clue in the area.

The work horse of Indian Air force, AN 32,  is well known for its capability to handle bad weather condition and serves in transporting cargo, passengers, firefighting and para-trooping.

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Wing Commander Pooja Thakur, who led Guard of Honour for Obama, sues Indian Air Force

When Barack Obama visited India in January 2015, he was accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. It was a grand welcome followed by the Guard of Honour, where the battalion was lead by a woman officer. This way, Wing Commander Pooja Thakur became the first woman officer to lead the Guard of Honour for a major visiting dignitary at the presidential palace.

However, on Thursday, she sued the Indian Air Force for denying her permanent commission. She has moved to the Armed Forces Tribunal, alleging that IAF’s decision to deny her full service was “biased, discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable.”

According to a report by NDTV, The Air Force has been asked to respond in four weeks. 

Thakur, who is being represented by retired Major S Pandey said, “IAF says Pooja Thakur was offered permanent commission in 2012, she declined it then and it can be offered only once. No new offer can be given.” Adding to this, he said that this was not a gender issue but a procedural one.

Justifying her initial refusal of permanent commission, he said that she refused the offer as she was not ready to take up full service at the time.

Daughter of an Army Colonel, Thakur  joined the Air Force in 2000.

In June, the Air Force took in its first batch of women fighter pilots, but only as short commission officers – they have to retire within fourteen months without any benefits. With Permanent commission, they will have a chance to rise to the rank of Lieutenant General and retire at 60 with full benefits.

Women were allowed in the air force as full officers only in 2010 after nearly 50 women officers including 22 from the IAF moved to court. 250 women benefited after the high court ruled in their favour.

India to send 40 tonnes aid to cyclone-hit Fiji

India is to send 40 tonnes of medicines, clothes and food to Fiji, which was struck by a devastating cyclone over the weekend. An Indian Air Force aircraft will carry the supplies to the island nation. The government is planning to fly a C17 plane from Delhi to Chennai with about 20 tonnes of the supplies. From Chennai, the aircraft will pick up another 20 tonnes of supplies before heading towards Fiji, sources told Economic Times.

Fiji was hit by Cyclone Winston, the most powerful to hit the islands in its history over the weekend, claiming close to 44 lives and rendereing over a thousand homeless. With winds at over 200 kmph, the cyclone was the worst ever

documented in the southern hemisphere.

The storm destroyed villages and caused extensive flooding, forcing people to drive out of their hometowns in scores.

Australia and New Zealand have led the international aid drive to support Fiji in rehabilitating their citizens, as more than half the nation is paralysed with in the aftermath of the massive cyclone.

Sources: Economic times

Indian Express

The Balloon shot down by IAF came from Pakistan: Govt sources

The Indian Air Force detected an unidentified balloon like object on Tuesday on the 67th Republic Day shot down by a fighter aircraft over the Barmer district, Rajasthan. The balloon seemed to have come from Pakistan to possibly test India’s response.

A government top official said that the Indian Air Force spotted a Sukhoi-30 warplane and deployed armed Mi-17 helicopters in response to the radar signals, picking up balloon like unidentified object between 10.30 am and 11 .00 am. The incident took place while the Republic Day parade in Delhi was in progression.

The defense minister Manohar Parrikar said, “Our radars picked up a shiny flying object entering Indian airspace. A fighter jet was quickly scrambled which intercepted it and shot it down”.

The rounds shot at the balloon were from fighter’s 30mm GSh-301 auto cannon. Under Section 2(1) of the Aircraft Act, 1934, the balloon comes under the category on an aircraft. The section covers kites too.

According to the sources, the balloon which was shot down by the Sukhoi-30 aircraft had “Happy Birthday” printed over it. The defense ministry has taken the matter up to the ministry of external affairs as there seems to be involvement of Pakistan. The security agencies confirmed that the object had flown from across the border given the vicinity of the neighboring country.

Source- Hindustan Times