IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to be conferred Vir Chakra on Independence Day: Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be awarded Vir Chakra on Independence Day, August 15. This year in February, Abhinandan Varthaman became the face of gallantry after he brought down an F-16 jet of the Pakistan Air Force during a dogfight. However, his aircraft MIG-21 Bison was soon shot down by an AMRAAM missile that resulted in him being taken into custody by Pakistani Army. Indian Army had recovered traces of AMRAAM missile in the investigation, which led to the suspicion that Pakistan had used an F-16 in an offensive role.

Indian Air Force’s Wing Commander Amit Ranjan, Squadron Leaders Rahul Basoya, Pankaj Bhujade, BKN Reddy, Shashank Singh have been awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) for bombing Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot town. All the officers are Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft pilots.

Varthaman was arrested by the Pak Army on February 27 and stayed in its custody for two days. Before being apprehended by the Pak Army, Abhinandan was allegedly attacked by the locals in which he sustained a rib fracture and other injuries.


 

Soon, a video was released by the Pak Army in which Abhinandan was seen sipping a cup of tea and denying to share any personal or professional details to the Pak Army officials. This video made him a hero back in India. The mission which made Abinandan a war hero was carried out by India in the response to the Pulwama terror attack that claimed lives of over 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans.

On February 14, an explosive-laden van rammed into a convoy of vehicles carrying CRPF jawans in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama. Abhinandan was later handed over to India on March 1 at the Wagah Border. After the Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra, the Vir Chakra is the third highest wartime military award in India.

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