New Delhi, Sept 16: Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, the only five-star officer of the armed forces, is critically ill and is undergoing treatment at Delhi’s Army Hospital (Research & Referral). The 98-year-old officer suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday.

“Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh is critically ill and is currently being treated at Army Hospital Research And Referral in New Delhi,” IAF tweeted about the only Air Force officer to be given a rank equivalent to that of a Field Marshal in the Army.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa visited the ailing war hero and prayed for his speedy recovery.

While addressing the press, Sitharaman said she is hopeful of the Air Marshal’s recovery. “Doctors are trying their best. We hope and pray that he succeeds in fighting back to life,” she told reporters here.

Marshal Arjan Singh has had a long and distinguished career with the IAF and won laurels for several dangerous and successful missions during conflicts including the 1965 India-Pakistan war. At the age of 44, he led the IAF into the battle, which saw modern aerial warfare between the two countries.

Arjan Singh’s iconic leadership while defending the strategically crucial town of Akhnoor in Jammu & Kashmir inspired the Indian Army to win the war against Pakistan, experts say.

In 1970, Arjan Singh retired as the Chief of Indian Air Force Staff, at the age of 50. He was sent on diplomatic missions by the Indian government. He also served as the Indian ambassador at Switzerland and Vatican.

In 2002, he became the first member of the air force to be promoted to five-star rank, equal to the Field Marshal.