New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today condoled the passing away of the Marshal Arjan Singh and recalled the latter’s contribution during the 1965 India- Pakistan war, describing him as an “icon” of the Indian Air Force.

“I am deeply grieved to hear about the sad demise of the Marshal of Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh, India’s oldest, five-star ranked air force officer,” Naidu said in his message.

Stating that Singh was famous for his role in the 1965 India-Pakistan war, Naidu said the icon of the Indian military history had led a young Air Force into the war in 1965 when he was hardly 44 years old.

In his message, the vice president also recalled that the Indian Air Force named its Panagarh (West Bengal) air base after Singh on the occasion of his 97th birth anniversary last year.

“He was the only living officer to have a base named after him. I convey my deepest condolences to the bereaved members of the family and join the nation in praying for eternal peace for the departed soul,” Naidu said.

Singh, the hero of 1965 India-Pakistan war and the only Air Force officer to be promoted to five-star rank, died here yesterday. He was 98.

He breathed his last at the Army’s Research and Referral hospital, marking an end to a glorious era of the IAF, the defence ministry said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.