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HomeNationalCaptain Abhinandan receives Vir Chakra for shooting down Pakistani jet

Captain Abhinandan receives Vir Chakra for shooting down Pakistani jet

New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) Captain Abhinandan Varthaman has been awarded Vir Chakra for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 aircraft after the Pulwama terror attack of February 2019.

The fighter pilot of the IAF has been rewarded with India’s third-highest wartime gallantry medal for presenting an “exceptional sense of duty” throughout the flight, the award citation stated.

The award ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and several other dignitaries.

The government had announced its decision to award the Vir Chakra to Abhinandan on Varthaman in 2019.

Abhinandan, 36, a wing commander then was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27, 2019, after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat.

Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. After being captured, Abhinandan was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan. He had sustained injuries while discharging from his MiG-21 Bison during the aerial fight.

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“Representing outstanding air fight acumen and understanding of the enemy’s tactics, Wing Commander Varthaman Abhinandan scanned the low altitude airspace with his Airborne Intercept (Al) radar and picked up an enemy aircraft that was hovering low to attack the Indian fighter-interceptor aircraft,” his citation for the Vir Chakra read.

“Abhinandan informed the other pilots about this surprise menace. He then consolidated the riposte by gathering his wingman in an attacking formation against the hostile Pakistani aircraft now shooting weapons on Indian Army positions. This bold and dynamic manoeuvre made the enemy aircraft into tactical confusion. After that, all the enemy aircraft turned back, including the rear echelon aircraft which were yet to launch their air to ground weapons,” the citation added.

Days after returning from Pakistan, Abhinandan conveyed to the IAF officer his intention to continue flying at the earliest.

Earlier this month, the Indian Air Force confirmed the rank of Group Captain for Varthaman.



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