IAF promotes Abhinandan Varthaman to the post of Group Captain

When Pakistan initiated retaliation against India for the Balakot bombings a day before, Varthaman shot down a Pakistani plane on February 27, 2019.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of the Indian Air Force has been promoted to Group Captain. According to sources acquainted with the situation, the officer has been cleared for promotion to the rank of Group Captain by the IAF, and Abhinandan Varthaman will be wearing his new title soon. In the Indian Army, a Group Captain is the equivalent of a colonel.

After shooting down the F-16, Abhinandan’s MiG-21 fighter plane was shot down by enemy troops, and he landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the Pakistan Army apprehended him. The Pakistan Army was forced to release him after intense pressure from India and international intervention.


On February 27, 2019, Abhinandan, a member of the 51 squadrons based in Srinagar, swooped in to foil a Pakistani aerial strike. In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan, India launched an aerial strike on the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist facility.

Following the strike, approximately two dozen fighter planes, including F-16s, took off from Pakistani bases with the intention of attacking Indian military targets. However, the Indian Air Force was prepared for such an attack and an aerial duel followed. Wing Commander Varthaman ended up shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter plane and getting hurt in the process.

Despite the fact that Wing Commander Varthaman made it out safely, he was apprehended. Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, confirmed the capture. India urged that he be returned unconditionally and safely. The United States was involved in the officer’s release at the time. He arrived in India safely.