Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman, who shot down Pakistani F-16 in Feb 2019, awarded Vir Chakra

Prime News, National, Defence, New Delhi, November 22:- Indian Air Force ace pilot Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman on Monday (November 22) was awarded the Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind in an investiture ceremony for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft on February 27, 2019.

Vir Chakra is India’s third highest wartime gallantry award after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra.

Abhinandan’s citation read, “Displaying exceptional air combat acumen and knowledge of the enemy’s tactics, Abhinandan scanned the low-altitude airspace with his airborne intercept (AI) radar and picked up an enemy aircraft that was flying low to ambush the Indian fighter interceptor aircraft… Abhinandan alerted the other formation pilots towards this surprise threat.”

Among other gallantry awards presented by Kovind included a Kirti Chakra awarded posthumously to Sapper Prakash Jadhav for gallantry in a counterinsurgency operation in Kashmir three years ago.
Abhinandan was recently promoted to the rank of Group Captain. Abhinandan shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during aerial combat on February 27 a day after the Balakot airstrike.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at Defence Investiture Ceremony-I at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday (November 22)
Abhinandan was recently promoted to the rank of Group Captain. Abhinandan shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during aerial combat on February 27 a day after the Balakot airstrike.
The dogfight in which Abhinandan was involved took place a day after the IAF’s Mirage-2000s struck targets in Pakistan’s Balakot in response to the Pulwama suicide attack in Kashmir in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men were killed on February 14, 2019.

In the process, 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 then taken into custody by the Pakistan Army. The Pakistan Army was forced to release him due to the extensive pressure exerted by the Indian side along with international intervention into the matter.

Abhinandan was part of the Srinagar-based 51 squadron and had flown to thwart 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. (MR, Inputs: Agencies)

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