The funeral procession of the sole Marshal of the Indian Air Force
(IAF), Arjan Singh, began on Sunday in the national
The procession was followed by the last rites, which were performed at the Brar Square. The wreath laying ceremony was to take place at 9:00 am.
Though no state mourning was announced, the Home Ministry said the national
flag would fly at half-mast on the day of the funeral in Delhi on all buildings where it is flown regularly.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
on Sunday stated that along with a state funeral and an appropriate gun salute, a flypast might take place, depending on the weather conditions, to honour the contribution of the Air Force Marshal.
Remembered for his role in leading the fledgling IAF in the 1965 war with Pakistan, Arjan Singh
died in a hospital in New Delhi on Sunday after a massive heart attack. He was 98.
His mortal remains were kept at his residence 7A, Kautilya Marg for people to pay respects to the war hero -- the first five-star officer of the IAF.
President Kovind, also the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces, said he was "extremely saddened to learn about the passing of our great and cherished air warrior -- a hero of World War II who won our nation's gratitude for his military leadership in the 1965 War".
Modi, who was in Gujarat to dedicate the Sardar Sarovar Dam to the nation on his birthday, paid tribute to the "brave soldier".
"Even at the age of 98, he would be dressed in uniform. He would come on a wheelchair but whenever he would see me, he would stand. He was a soldier, he never forgot his discipline."
In Delhi, Defence Minister Sitharaman laid a wreath on the air warrior's body on behalf of the Prime Minister.
Three service chiefs -- Admiral Sunil Lanba, General Bipin Rawat and Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa -- also paid their respects.
Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said Arjan Singh
was a philanthropist to the core and always led from the front and brought many innovative reforms to the IAF.
"In 2004, when he was promoted as the Marshal of IAF, he, along with his wife, sold off their property and started the Arjan Singh
Trust at a value of Rs 2 crore, which has now summed up to Rs. 3.7 crore. This was at a time when there were many airmen retiring from the service without their pensions being provided, which caused economic grief. They have disbursed Rs 2.7 crore of loans to air warriors so far."
Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said: "The greatest air warrior, true leader and an icon for generations to come, Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh
will be missed by the entire nation."
Former Defence Minister and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar called Arjan Singh
the father of IAF's modernisation efforts.
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan described the "iconic, valiant and most decorated son of India" as an "epitome of valour and dignity".