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Air chief to award citations to Abhinandan's unit, Squadron for Balakot ops

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New Delhi, Oct 06: Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's 51 Squadron will receive unit citation award by Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria for their exemplary role in executing the Balakot aerial strikes on February 27. Commanding officer Group Captain Satish Pawar will receive the award on behalf of 51 Squadron Air Force Day on October 8.

Air chief to award citations to Abhinandans unit, Squadron for Balakot ops

IAF chief, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman fly sortie of MiG-21

Group Captain Satish Pawar, the commanding officer of the squadron, will receive the award on behalf of the team for their efforts in shooting down a Pakistani F-16. Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal's 601 Signal unit is also scheduled to be awarded.

Notably, number 9 squadron will also be awarded the unit citation for their use of Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft during 'Operation Bandar' while carrying out the Balakot airstrike.

On February 27, the IAF had foiled the Pakistani retaliation, and in the dogfight, Abhinandan Varthaman downed an F-16 fighter jet of the Pakistan Air Force, showing grit, determination and bravery.

Abhinandan Varthaman had become the face of the military confrontation between the two countries.

Pakistani security forces had captured Abhinandan but released him to India around 60 hours later at the Wagah border.

The bombing of the JeM terror facility in Balakot was carried out by India in retaliation of a terror strike in Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force jawans were killed.

On August 15, Abhinandan Varthaman was conferred with the prestigious Vir Chakra award. Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award in India after the Param Vir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.

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