Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, Padma Vibhushan, DFC Annual Lecture 2023
The first annual Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh Memorial Lecture was held today, December 20, 2023, at the United Service Institution (USI) of India in New Delhi.
To commence the event, Maj Gen BK Sharma, AVSM, SM and Bar (Retd), Director General, USI, welcomed the audience and thanked the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC for instituting and supporting USI for the conduct of Annual Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh Memorial Lecture. He assured the Chief of the Air Staff that “USI will fulfil this responsibility with utmost military decorum, ensuring that the profound legacy of Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh is imparted with the reverence it deserves”. Maj Gen Sharma emphasised that the late Marshal of the Air Force’s illustrious legacy of dedicated military leadership, statesmanship and strategic thinking should be incorporated into professional military education programs for the present and future military personnel. He stressed that this would inspire future generations to walk the path shown by Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh of selfless dedication and devotion to service to the nation.
The keynote lecture was delivered by Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, PVSM, AVSM, VM (Retd), former Chief of the Air Staff, on ‘The Legacy of Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh as a Visionary and Strategic Leader’. In his talk, he highlighted Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh’s unwavering dedication to duty, his valour on the battlefield, and his pivotal role in transforming the fledgling Royal Indian Air Force into a battle-hardened strategic arm of the Indian military post-independence.
Underscoring Arjan Singh’s seminal contributions during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, he outlined how the Marshal of the Air Force leveraged the capabilities of the Indian Air Force, built under his command, to execute daring combat missions. This swung the tide of the war in India’s favour. Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria also elaborated on Marshal of the Air Force’s visionary tenure as Chief of Air Staff from 1964-1969, during which the combat fleet and capabilities of the IAF expanded exponentially. Modernisation efforts during this period included the induction of state-of-the-art supersonic jet fighters and bombers which upgraded the IAF’s ageing fleet. This visionary approach cemented the Indian Air Force’s place at the forefront of India’s national security architecture.
Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria concluded his lecture by stating that “Field Marshal Arjan Singh’s legacy will remain our guiding light, a beacon inspiring us all towards greater resolve in service and commitment to our solemn uniform – as active air warriors and veterans alike”.
The event culminated with a vote of thanks by Maj Gen RS Yadav (Retd), Director CS3 of USI.
The event was also attended by Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC and Air Chief Marshal NC Suri, PVSM, AVSM, VM (Retd), former Chief of Air Staff. After the event, speaking to media persons, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari commented, “The Indian Air Force has instituted this annual memorial lecture alongside USI to highlight the rich legacy left behind by Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. Through this lecture series, we intend to propagate the Marshal’s enduring ideals of valour, patriotism and strategic leadership to the younger generations in our armed forces and the public at large”.
The key takeaway from the event was how Marshal of the Air Force Arjun Singh’s legacy continues to drive the evolution of military leadership and strategic security doctrines in the nation. During his long and decorated career spanning the British Raj as well as service post-independence, Arjan Singh came to embody the highest virtues of courage, vision, and selfless duty. His distinguished service acts as a lodestar for military professionals even today to emulate.
Today’s discourse will further the process of crystallising and formally integrating the Marshal of the Air Force’s values as foundational tenets for India’s Armed Forces.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team