Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was in the custody of Pakistan Air Force (PAF,) was awarded the Vir Chakra gallantry medal on Independence Day, the 15th of August.
On the 27th of February, Wg Cdr Varthaman, who was piloting a MiG 21 Bison, was captured by the PAF. He was released on the 1st of March and became a national hero. The incident took place after the Balakot airstrike by the Indian Air Force (IAF.)
The Balakot airstrike was launched by the IAF in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, which killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers of the Indian Army in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir.
The attack was carried out by the Jaish e Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group residing in Pakistan.
The IAF recommended Wg Cdr Abhinandan Varthaman for the gallantry medal for his bravery. The Vir Chakra is India’s third highest wartime medal.
Apart from Abhinandan Varthaman, Wing Commander Amit Ranjan and Squadron Leaders Rahul Basoya, Pankaj Bhujade, Shashank Singh and B.K.N. Reddy were also awarded Vayu Sena Medal for the airstrike on Balakot.
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