Indian Air Force officer Abhinandan Varthaman, who downed a Pakistani war plane during an aerial combat in February and was captured by that country, has been chosen for Veer Chakra, India's third-highest war time gallantry medal, the Defence Ministry announced today.
Five Mirage fighter pilots, who were part of India’s operation that struck at a Jaish-e-Mohmamed terrorist training camp in Balakot deep inside Pakistan on February 27, were also among the winner of military medals announced on the eve of India’s Independence Day tomorrow, our New Delhi correspondent reports.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, 36, was captured 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.
Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. Varthaman was kept captive by Pakistan for three days before being freed on the night of March 1.
Varthaman had suffered injuries while ejecting from his MiG-21 Bison during the aerial combat.
Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal, who played a key role as flight controller during the aerial combat between India and Pakistan on February 27, has been awarded Yudh Seva medal.
The IAF fighter jets bombed the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot on February 26, nearly two weeks after the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir which left 42 Indian paramilitary personnel dead on February 12.
Pakistan retaliated on February 27 by attempting to target Indian military installations.