Indian Air Force ace pilot Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman was given the Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind in an induction ceremony today. Vir Chakra is India’s third greatest wartime gallantry award right after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra.
Abhinandan Varthaman was recently elevated to the rank of Group Captain. Abhinandan Varthaman fired down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during an airborne battle on February 27, a day after the Balakot airstrike. During the process, he crossed over Pakistan controlled Kashmir and his MiG-21 was struck, and he had to discharge over the territory regulated by Pakistan.
He was brought into custody by the Pakistan Army. The Pakistan Army was ordered to discharge him due to the tremendous pressure exercised by the Indian side along with international interference into the matter.
Abhinandan Varthaman was a part of the Srinagar-based 51 squadron and had crossed to prevent an aerial attack started by Pakistan on February 27, 2019. India had propelled an aerial confrontation on Pakistan’s terrorist facility under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area run by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) on February 26.
Abhinandan’s praise for the honour said he bravely battled the Pakistani aircraft package although the “immense numerical and technological superiority”, and his bold tactics “forced the enemy aircraft into tactical chaos”.
“All the enemy aircraft thereafter turned back including the rear echelon aircraft which were yet to launch their air-to-ground weapons. Wing Commander Varthaman Abhinandan then pursued a retreating enemy fighter bomber aircraft, and in the ensuing aerial combat, shot down an F-16 aircraft with his onboard missile,” the citation read.