Air Cdre Jasjit firsr

A TRIBUTE TO AIR COMMODORE JASJIT SINGH by J Thomas

 

 

Veteran Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, AVSM, VrC, VM passed away in New Delhi, recently. He was a well known Military Analyst, and did deep research on Air Power for the National Defense. A prolific writer, he has published several books and scores of papers for various journals and news papers. Veteran Wing Commander Joseph Thomas, VM introduced me to him in 1986, and I borrowed books from his rich personal library many times. Given below, is a brief tribute to the departed soldier sent to me by Thomas. [Editor}

*

We have just heard the sad news that Veteran Air Commodore Jasjit Singh AVSM, VrC, VM has passed away in New Delhi, on 4 Aug ’13. He was 79.

Air Commodore Jasjit Singh was a former Director of Operations of the IAF and former Director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). He was one of the leading analysts of Indian military and strategic thought. His tenure as the Director of IDSA and as the founder of the “Center for Air Power Studies” has cemented his legacy in the annals of
Indian Aviation.

He started his career in the Indian Air Force in 1956. He flew Vampires, Mysteres and MiG-21s. During his career he was decorated three times. He was posted as a staff officer at Air HQ just before the 1971 war but he lobbied for and got an attachment to a frontline unit. He flew in the 71 Operations with No.3 Squadron at Sirsa and was decorated with the Vir Chakra for his participation in the war. During this time he flew the Mystere IVa fighter bomber – which was obsolete and vulnerable in the skies of 1971.  Incidentally, his elder brother, Charanjit Singh, also won a Vir Chakra during the 1971 war.

He subsequently converted to the MiG-21 and was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal in 1974. As Director of Operations he was later decorated with the AVSM in 1984. He superannuated in the rank of Air Commodore and joined IDSA  becoming its director for many years. Later, he set up the Center for Air Power Studies (CAPS) in 2001. http://www.aerospaceindia.org/ ) . It was under his stewardship that a multitude of books on Indian Air Power – covering strategy as well as history have been published. As Assistant Director Personnel (Officers) in 1969, Sqn Ldr Jasjit Singh wrote the seminal paper on cadre management in the IAF.  His ideas were partially put into practice in 1976.
He has more than a dozen books to his credit including the Authorized Biography of the Marshal of the Air Force – titled “Icon”. (A Photo below shows him signing one of the copies of ICON)

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2006, one of the less than dozen or so officers from the IAF who have received a ‘Padma’ award.

 His wife was also a doctor in the IAF.  His elder son, Ajai Singh served in IAF  but left early due to a serious injury.  He is now a strategic affairs analyst in his own right.  His younger son is a serving officer in the Navy.

Next of kin:  Elder son Ajai Singh 09810065020 Mrs Jasjit 09810042564

A few pictures of this gallant soldier and prolific writer are given below.

Air Cdre Jasjit a

 Air Commodore Jasjit Singh was a frequent speaker at several Institutes and Seminars

Jasjit - 2

“Air Cdre Jasjit Singh signing Jagan  Pillarisetti’s copy of  the Biography of the Marshal of the Air Force,  entitled, “ICON.”
Photo courtesy Jagan Pillarisetti”

Jasjit - 1

Jasjit Singh did not ‘retire’ until his last breath. He had returned from the Army War College, just a few days before his death

Post Script

The following message has come from AVM Arjun Subramaniam, and is very appropriate:

Dear Folks,

of the younger generation of air warriors, I think I had  the privilege of spending the maximum
time with him over the last few years.  I am sure most of you will share the sentiments expressed
in the obituary.  Please see the link below

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/warrior-pilot-strategist-scholar/article4996360.ece

best  regards

AVM Arjun Subramaniam

  1. Om Parkash Sharma says:

    Had the privilege of serving under him during active service of Indo-Pak war of 1971. He was flight commander of 3 Sqn with Wingo RN Dogra as our CO. Jasjit Singh the great! always remained immaculately dressed and looked after the welfare of the troops placed under him. He abhored the word “NO” and always went out of the way to help his troops. He granted leave to an airman just because he wanted to see his monther in Bihar in Dec 71 when war was on. What a great compassion. He was prince incarnation. Those days he proudly possessed costliest car.His hand writing, vocabulary and clear thoughts left no doubt as to what he is expressing. Never compromised nor sold his soul just for ACRs. He earnt every thing by professional acumen and by dint of hard work. His elder brother Sqn Ldr Charanjit Singh was also awarded Vir Chakra and their joint photos appeared in daily news papers in Dec 71. His father, Sardar Bahadur Sardar Sant Singh was Prime Minister of Maharaja Nabha. My village is near to Nabha.

    Sqn Ldr Jasjit Singh’s family/relatives were active in the war namely his eleder brother Charanjit Singh, his other relative Capt (later Brig. retd) Kuleep Singh Beniwal (Hero of Ramgarh having repulsed Pakistanti Tanks single handedly and other uncle Maj Gen. Ram Singh were all in the forefront. I had met his son Ajay Singh at Hakimpet when he was undergoing training for fighter stream.

    The line up of fighter pilots in No. 3 Sqn AF (COBRAS) in December, 1971 as I remember was as great as warrior pilots should be. Wing Commander RN Dogra, Vir Chakra (CO – KING COBRA), Sqn Ldr Akbar Singh Bains, Sqn Ldr JD Kumar (Killed in action), Sqn Ldr PB Bhadgamkar, Sqn Ldr Jasjit Singh Vir Chakra were very experienced on Mystere aircraft, Flt Lt T Das, Flt Lt PK Khullar, Fg Offr HO Roby, Fg Offrs HPS Sidhu (Commended by CAS) , D Dayakar, DS Sawhney (RIP in 3 Sqn itself), Fg Offr HS Kang (Commended by CAS), were the back bones. They flew to enemy territories for attack with very cheerful disposition, fully determined, full of courage as if they were going for some merry go round.

    Soldier, rest! thy warfare o’er,
    Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking;
    Dream of battled fields no more,
    Days of danger, nights of waking.
    In our isle’s enchanted hall,
    Hands unseen thy couch are strewing,
    Fairy strains of music fall,
    Every sense in slumber dewing.
    Soldier, rest! thy warfare o’er,
    Dream of fighting fields no more:
    Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
    Morn of toil, nor night of waking.

    He was destined to live for more than 100 years but unfortunately a great soul has left us. May his soul rest in peace and his memories and works enlighten every one.

  2. Wg.Cdr. I M Chopra (Retd.) says:

    I first came to know Jasjit as a cadet of 64 th course at AFA Begumpet. I was an instructor at the Academy. He was Chottu Bakhle’s (Late Gp.Capt. G K Bakhle) pupil. He did quite well at AFA. Subsequently I remember meeting him when he was Director of Institute of Defence Studies. He became a very good defence analyst.
    My condolence to his family and may his soul rest in peace.

  3. Rakesh Sachdeva says:

    Sir,
    Nice!
    Rakesh

  4. Lt Col VC Alexander says:

    Air Cmde Jasjit singh was an impressive personality. His command of the English language and the way he spoke has been endearing. A great soldier and a scholar of eminence.

    May his soul rest in peace.

  5. Chander Prakash Joshi says:

    Thanks for info. A sophisticated , intellectual soldier who greatly contributed towards Indian Defense while in service as well as a veteran .

    Brig CP Joshi (Retd)

  6. Maj Gen Dhruv Katoch says:

    Thank you General for the forward. I think the legacy which Air Cmde Jasjit Singh left behind will greatly enhance strategic thinking within India. A tribute paid to him by Team CLAWS is at the link below. We worked closely together and I have nothing but deep respect for his intellect and visionary thinking. His passing away is indeed a great loss.
    Dhruv.

    http://www.claws.in/In-Memoriam-A-Tribute-by-Team-CLAWS-to-Air-Commodore-Jasjit-Singh-,1934-2013-Centre-for-Land-Warfare-Studies.html

    Maj Gen Dhruv C Katoch, SM, VSM, (Retd)
    Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS)
    RPSO Complex, Parade Road, New Delhi – 110010, India
    Mob: 9968956477
    You cannot choose your battlefield, God does that for you
    But you can plant a standard where a standard never flew.
    Nathaniel Crane – The Colors,
    We never know how high we are, till we are asked to rise
    and then if we are true to plan, our statures touch the skies…
    The heroism that we recite would be a normal thing,
    did not ourselves the cubits warp for fear to be a king…..Emily Dickinson.

  7. Brig Gurmeet Kanwal says:

    RIP: Jasjit Singh (1934-2013)

    Gurmeet Kanwal
    Delhi-based Defence Analyst
    Email: gurmeetkanwal@gmail.com

    Air Cmde Jasjit Singh AVSM, VrC, VM (Retd)

    (1934-2013)

    Air Cmde Jasjit Singh, AVSM, VrC, VM (Retd), Director, Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi, passed away on August 4, 2013 after a brief illness.

    He spent nearly five decades of his life in active service to the nation – first as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF, 1954-88) and then as one of the country’s leading strategic analysts. He was an outstanding fighter pilot and was decorated with the Vir Chakra and the Vayu Medal for acts of gallantry during war. He served as the Director of Flight Safety and as the Director of Air Operations at the IAF HQ at New Delhi. Most members of the strategic community and many others are familiar with Air Cmde Jasjit Singh’s outstanding service to the nation in the field of defense and strategic affairs. In recognition of his service to the nation, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India in 2006.

    Air Cmde Jasjit Singh served as Director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, from 1987 to 2001. During this time, IDSA steered informed opinion making on India’s security and foreign policy during the turbulent period at the end of the Cold War. When India conducted the nuclear tests in May 1998, he travelled to many world capitals to explain the Indian threat perception and the justification for India’s nuclear deterrence. In fact, it would be no exaggeration to state that IDSA shaped the country’s credible minimum deterrence nuclear doctrine over many years before and after the 1998 nuclear tests.

    Air Cmde Jasjit Singh was contributing editor of nearly four dozen books and has personally authored extremely well researched books such as Air Power in Modern Warfare (1985), Non-provocative Defence (1989), Nuclear India (1998), India’s Defence Spending (2000), Air Power and Joint Operations (2003), Iraq War (2004), Defence from the Skies: Indian Air Force through 75 years (2007), The Icon (2009), a biography of Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, Indian Aircraft Industry (2011), and India’s Security in a Turbulent World (2013).

    He had remarkable vision for furthering strategic studies and outstanding capabilities for institution building. After he left IDSA, he established the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), the repository of wide-ranging knowledge and analysis on aerospace and aviation issues. CAPS was soon “adopted” by the IAF and became the first of the four think tanks established by the Services HQ. The Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), the National Maritime Foundation (NMF) and the Centre for Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWS) followed CAPS in quick succession. All four think tanks have been eminently successful in promoting strategic thinking in their respective fields through hard core research, seminars and conferences and by way of publications. He also founded the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, New Delhi. In the process he succeeded in nurturing a rich gene pool of Indian strategic analysts, many of whom have moved on to academia, other think tanks and journalism.

    Some of the major roles in which he rendered notable service to the nation include: Convener of the Task Force to set up the National Security Council, 1998; Member of the National Security Advisory Board, 1990-91 and 1998-2001 (During the second tenure, along with the late K Subrahmanyam, he was one of the principle authors of the Draft Nuclear Doctrine of the country); Consultant to the Standing Committee on Defence of the Indian Parliament; Advisor to the 11th Finance Commission of India; Member of the International Commission for a New Asia; Member of the International Commission for Peace and Food; and, Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.

    I first met Air Cmde Jasjit Singh when he came to DSSC, Wellington, to address the officers attending the Staff College course in 1985 and after that always kept in touch with him. I served with him first at IDSA (1998-2000) while on study leave from the army and then at CAPS (2006-07) after having opted for voluntary retirement. For me, as for many others in the strategic community, he was a superb guide and mentor. My IDSA book on India’s nuclear forces (Nuclear Defence: Shaping the Arsenal, 2002) came about entirely due to his guidance and motivating influence.

    Always full of energy, he worked tirelessly to encourage the development of a strategic culture and analytical thinking on national security issues. He welcomed everybody with a smile and always had time for people who came to him either with questions or with a problem. Though polite to a fault, he was a stickler for deadlines and worked unstintingly for the organisation. He was a worthy role model indeed.

    Air Cmde Jasjit Singh was a very perceptive strategic analyst and a great think tank Director. He was an influential mentor for many of us in the strategic community. He was also a wonderful human being. I will miss him deeply. So will friends and colleagues in India’s strategic community.

  8. Col SS Malik says:

    thank you sir,

    Sultan

  9. Harbhajan Singh says:

    Dear Gen Surjit,

    Thank you very much for sharing details about Air Commodore Jasjit Singh. He was a remarkable officer, scholar and gentleman.

    He has been called by the Almighty rather early. May God bless his soul.

    Hope all is well your end. Best wishes and warm regards.

    Harbhajan

  10. Gp Capt Ashok K Chordia says:

    Air Cmde Jasjit Singh was an “INSTITUTION”. He was the ‘Abdul Kalaam” of the strategic community in general and the IAF in particular. He ignited minds and taught us to think freely, to think big and to look way ahead into the future – he taught us to “SOAR”. I owe a pleasant transformation in my life to my association with him, when I joined CAPS as a Senior Fellow. Three years that I spent under his tutelage has been the most rewarding period of my life. Life at CAPS will never be the same ever again. May his soul rest in peace. May he continue to guide us from the heavens high above.

  11. Brig (Dr) CPJoshi says:

    A sophisticated , intellectual soldier.

  12. Col M B Jauhari says:

    May his noble soul rest in peace.

  13. Isha says:

    It is truly inspiring to read about people who are so passionate about their work. They teach us to keep doing what we love till the very end.
    May he rest in peace.

  14. Gen R K Mehta says:

    Air Cmde Jasjit Singh was a regular speaker at the NDC. He always spoke eloquentlly and with great clarity of mind. The officers at the NDC always found his talks to be thought provoking which invariably led to extended question hour time. He was a true visionary.
    May God bless his soul.

  15. ''colls'' says:

    May God Bless his soul

    I feel we all have a mission in life
    and we should be up on our feet
    till we can last
    to serve humanity
    during this only chance …
    bestowed upon us

    MAY GOD GIVE STRENGTH
    TO THOSE WHO HE LEAVES behind
    to continue his good work.

    ”’We walk this path but once….
    OMAR KHAYYAM

  16. Maj Gen Satbir Singh says:

    I had the privilege to serve in IDSA as Senior Fellow when Air Commodore Jasjit Singh was the Director IDSA.An offr and a gentleman, he was blessed in abundance the qualities of head and heart.A great Military thinker and a strategist, he had total clarity of knowledge. He allowed us all to express freely our views on all issues under consideration/discussion.
    May God bless peace to the departed soul.My heartfelt condolences to all members of the family.

  17. sahadev says:

    though i have not met him , i am an ardent admirer of him, whenever he spoke , one did not change the channel ,as he spoke with conviction….such individuals indeed are rare …….

    • Had the privilege of serving under him during active service of Indo-Pak war of 1971. He was flight commander of 3 Sqn with Wingo RN Dogra as our CO. Jasjit Singh the great! always remained immaculately dressed and looked after the welfare of the troops placed under him. He abhored the word “NO” and always went out of the way to help his troops. He granted leave to an airman in Dec 71 when war was on. What a great compassion. He was prince incarnation. His handwriitng, vocabulary and clear thoughts left no doubt as to what he is expressing. Never compromised nor sold his soul just for ACRs. He earnt every thing by professional acumen and by dint of hard work. His elder brother Sqn Ldr Charanjit Singh was also awarded Vir Chakra and their joint photos appeared in daily news papers in Dec 71. His father, Sardar Bahadur Sardar Sant Singh was Prime Minister of Maharaja Nabha.

      A great soul left us. May his souldrest in peace and his memories and works enlighten every one.

Leave a Comment