Indian Air Force(IAF) ace pilot Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman will be awarded the Vir Chakra in an investiture ceremony by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also attended the event.
Abhinandan Varthaman was recently promoted to the rank of Group Captain.
Varthaman shot a Pakistan F-16 fighter aircraft during aerial combat on February 27 a day after the Balakot airstrike in 2019.
Displaying exceptional air combat acumen and knowledge of the enemy’s tactics, Abhinandan scanned the low altitude airspace and picked up an enemy aircraft that was flying low to ambush the Indian fighter-interceptor aircraft.
Group Captain Abhinandan went on to pursue a retreating enemy fighter bomber aircraft, and in the ensuing aerial combat, shot down an F-16 aircraft with his on-board missile.
After his aircraft was shot down, Group Captain Abhinandan was forced to eject in Pakistan territory. “Despite being captured by the enemy, he continued to display exceptional resolve in dealing with the adversary in a stoic brave and dignified manner till he was repatriated on 01 March 2019. His actions raised the morale of the armed forces in general and the IAF in particular,” the citation reads.
IAF Abhinandan Varthaman’s Bravery:
Abhinandan alerted the other pilots towards the surprise threat. he then consolidated the riposte against the Pakistani aircraft dropping weapons on Indian Army positions. With this act, all the enemy aircraft turned back.
Abhinandan then pursued a retreating enemy fighter bomber aircraft and in ensuing aerial combat, shot down an F-16 aircraft with his onboard missile. However, in the process, one of the Pakistani aircraft fired multiple times forcing him to eject in enemy territory.
Despite being captured by the territory, he continued to display exceptional resolve with the Pakistani forces bravely and stoically.
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.