Wg Cdr Abhinandan Varthaman to be awarded Vir Chakra for shooting down Pak’s F-16

Vir Chakra, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, Jammu And Kashmir, Indian Army, News Mobile, News Mobile India

Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, celebrated across the nation for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 with his MiG-21 Bison, will be conferred with the Vir Chakra on Independence Day.

While Abhinandan has been recommended for the Vir Chakra, the pilots who bombed the Balakot camps are also likely to be honoured with the Vayu Sena Medal for destroying Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Balakot, reports ANI.

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The Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award in the military during the times of war after the Param Vir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.

Wing Commander Abhinandan has the unique distinction of being the only pilot in the world to have shot down an F-16 combat aircraft from his vintage MiG-21 Bison aircraft on February 27 during the aerial conflict with Pakistan.

Pakistan has been very upset over the shooting down of its Block 52 F-16 fitted with AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles with superior strike ranges than the R-73 missile on the MiG-21 which was used by Wg Cdr Abhinandan during the aerial fight.

Despite its best attempts to cover up the shooting down of its F-16, the Air Force released radar images and other proofs that showed that the American-built plane was indeed taken out by the Indian pilot.

Days after Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an airstrike at a terror camp run by Jaish-e-Mohammed. During the following confrontation, IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistan F-16 jet on February 27.

Abhinandan Varthaman was captured on February 27 by Pakistan following a dogfight between the two air forces in which his MIG-21 was shot down.

Pakistan PM Imran Khan announced a day later that they will release him — seen as a major step towards defusing a near-war situation triggered by India’s retaliation over Pak’s continued support for terrorism.

The world first came to know of Abhinandan when photographs of him — captured, blindfolded and handcuffed by the Pakistani military — surfaced. Later, a video was released in which he sipped tea and said his captors were treating him well.

On March 1, Abhinandan was finally released as India built diplomatic pressure on Pakistan.

(With Agency Inputs)

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