IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan gets Vir Chakra
IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman awarded with the Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest gallantry medal on the occasion of Independence Day, while five other IAF pilots honored with Vayu Seva Medal.
Vir Chakra is presented for acts of bravery on the battlefield. Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal who also played an important role in the Balakot airstrikes will be awarded the Yudh Seva Medal.
IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman spent almost 60 hours in Pakistani custody after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down during aerial combat with Pakistani jets on February 27, just a day after the Balakot airstrike by India. The 36-year-old IAF pilot had suffered injuries while ejecting from his MiG-21 Bison.
In the days following his capture, the IAF Wing Commander became the centre of military confrontation between India and Pakistan. Abhinandan had reportedly shot down Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet before his jet was hit. He was held by Pakistan as a prisoner of war. The International community got heavily involved in the matter, which increased pressure on Pakistan to release him safe and sound.
IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released by Pakistan at Wagah border on March 2019. Abhinandan relayed his wish to IAF to return to his IAF duty within a few days after his return. Abhinandan has now been cleared by the medical board and he will soon be allowed to fly MiG-21.
Vir Chakra: India’s third-highest gallantry medal
The Vir Chakra gallantry medal is the third-highest wartime medal, whereas, Param Vir Chakra is the highest in the order. A total of 1322 persons have been honored with this award so far. This award was instituted by President of India on 26 January 1950
IAF fighter jets crossed over to Pakistan on February 26 and bombed a huge JeM terrorist training camp in Balakot. The terrorist camp was located deep inside Pakistani territory. The airstrike was in retaliation to the Pulwama terror attack that took the lives of over 40 CRPF personnel.