Indian Air Force ace pilot Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman who shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during aerial combat on February 27 was awarded the Vir Chakra on Monday.
Group Captain Abhinandan received the award from President Ram Nath Kovind at the Defence Investiture Ceremony on Monday at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also attended the event.
Delhi: Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman being accorded the Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind, for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during aerial combat on February 27, 2019. pic.twitter.com/vvbpAYuaJX
— ANI (@ANI) November 22, 2021
Abhinandan Varthaman was part of the Srinagar-based 51 squadron and had flown to thwart an aerial attack launched by the Pakistanis on February 27, 2019. The Indian Air Force earlier promoted Abhinandan to the rank of Group Captain.
The Pakistan Air Force’s retaliation in February 2019, came after India’s strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot” following the Pulwama attack. 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.
Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry medal after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Chakra.