Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman was awarded the Vir Chakra on Monday by President Ram Nath Kovind in an investiture ceremony.
New Delhi: Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman was awarded the Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind in an investiture ceremony for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft in aerial combat on February 27, 2019.
Abhinandan Varthaman, then a Wing Commander was engaged in a dogfight with a Pakistani fighter jet in the aerial skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani Air Forces that followed the Pulwama attack. He was promoted to the rank of a Group Captain on November 3, 2021.
According to official reports, Varthaman’s MiG-21 aircraft was shot down by the Pakistani forces after he brought down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in aerial combat. The brave officer landed in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army. He was subsequently released after New Delhi mounted diplomatic pressure on Islamabad.
Kirti Chakra for late Sapper Prakash Jadhav
Besides Varthaman, who remains one of the most celebrated officers of the IAF in the recent past, Sapper Prakash Jadhav was awarded the second-highest peacetime gallantry award Kirti Chakra (posthumously) for neutralising terrorists in an operation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal was awarded Shaurya Chakra (posthumously) for his role in an operation which resulted in neutralising five terrorists. Naib Subedar Sombir also received the Shaurya Chakra posthumously for killing an A++ category terrorist during an anti-terror operation in J&K.
Among other prominent names who were awarded on Monday include- Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) for former Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Anil Chauhan (Retd), Engineer in Chief Lt General Harpal Singh, Southern Navy commander Vice Admiral Anil Chawla. Eastern Air Commander Air Marshal Dilip Patnaik will receive Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM).