In a major breakthrough, Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Monday flew a sortie in a MiG-21 fighter aircraft in Pathankot, Punjab.
Varthaman who shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet post-Balakot operations, has resumed flying operations in August after medical clearance.
#WATCH Pathankot: IAF Chief #BSDhanoa and Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman moving towards the MiG-21 before their sortie earlier today. pic.twitter.com/WEH2EH75ol
— NewsMobile (@NewsMobileIndia) September 2, 2019
Reports inform that the officer has been posted at a MiG-21 Bison airbase in the western desert. Abhinandan had been grounded for months due to ejection from his MiG-21 which had been shot down in aerial conflict with Pakistan Air Force F-16s in February this year.
The Indian Air Force Chief is also a MiG-21 pilot and had flown the planes during the 1999 Kargil war while commanding the 17 Squadron, during the war. During Pakistani counter attack on India on February 27 this year in response to Balakot airstrikes, Abhinandan had flown a MiG 21 Bison fighter into PoK
The Wing Commander had fired an R-73 missile to take down the Pakistan F-16 aircraft before his Mig 21 Bison was hit by an AMRAAM missile. 36-year-old Varthaman was captured and held captive for three days by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat.
In August, the Wing Commander was conferred the Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest war time gallantry medal. He was awarded the Vir Chakra for his role in the February 27 operations where India thwarted Pakistani attempts to take down Indian targets in the Naushera sector.
(With Agency Inputs)