- Captain Abhinandan Varthaman received Vir Chakra award.
- He shot down Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during air combat.
President Ram Nath Kovind in an investiture ceremony today awarded Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman with the Vir Chakra. India’s third highest wartime gallantry award after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra.
Abhinandan Varthaman was recently promoted to the rank of Group Captain.
He shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during aerial combat on February 27, 2019, a day after the Balakot airstrike. The airstrike was done to destroy the terrorist camps being operated in the neighbouring country.
Experts had applauded it as the first-ever shot-down of an F-16 by a MiG-21 Bison – second-generation fighter jet.
Delhi: Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman being accorded the Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind, for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during aerial combat on February 27, 2019. pic.twitter.com/CsDC0cYqds— ANI (@ANI) November 22, 2021
During aerial combat, he flew over Pakistan occupied Kashmir and his MiG-21 was hit and he had to eject over the territory controlled by the enemy.
He was captured by the Pakistan army but released after 60 hours after Indian government and International pressures. He was returned back to the Indian Army at Wagah Border, Punjab.
Abhinandan Varthaman was part of the Srinagar-based 51 squadron and had flown to combat an aerial attack launched by the Pakistanis on February 27, 2019.
India had launched an aerial strike on Pakistan’s terrorist facility in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area run by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) on February 26.