New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) has decided to recommend India’s hero, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, for the prestigious ‘Vir Chakra’ for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet a day after IAF struck the militant terror camps in Balakot.
The Vir Chakra is the third most prestigious gallantry award in the military during times of war after Param Vir Chakra and Mahavir Chakra.
In addition to this, the pilots of the 12 Mirage-2000 fighter jets that obliterated the Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Balakot, deep in Pakistan will be awarded with the Vayu Sena Medal for their acts of bravery.
IAF has transferred Abhinandan Varthaman from Srinagar to an important base in Western sector along the international border with Pakistan. Government sources said that the new posting is also at a fighter base. Abhinandan will continue with flying missions for the IAF once he is ready.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman became the hero of India after he shot down a supersonic F-16 fighter jet of Pakistan in a dog fight over the LoC on 27 February. The Pakistani jet was on a mission to bomb military installations of India. Thanks to the quick response of the IAF, the enemy could not achieve their targets and were pushed back.
During the aerial conflict, Abhinandan who piloted the vintage MiG-21 Bison was able to shoot down the more advanced American-made F-16 fighter jet. He is the only person in the world to shoot down an advanced jet with an old generation fighter plane.
However, Abhinandan’s plane was shot down and he was captured by the enemy inside Pakistani territory. The Wing Commander showed high degree of dignity and composure even under high pressure as a prisoner in enemy hands.
India moved quickly and demanded the sudden and unconditional handing over of the pilot by Pakistan. Reports say that India moved warships towards Karachi and also used international diplomacy to force Pakistan’s hand in order to release Abhinandan Varthaman.
Though Pakistan denied losing F-16 in the fight against India, the IAF have provided ample evidences that prove that Abhinandan had indeed shot down the F-16 belonging to Pakistan.
Pakistan tried to bomb Indian military installations in response to IAF airstrike at the terror camps in Balakot in the early hours of 26 February. It was a preemptive strike at the Jaish-e-Mohammad’s training camps is response to the ghastly attack at Pulwama that killed 40 CRPF soldiers