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Abhinandan Varthaman shifted out of Srinagar, IAF to recommend him for Vir Chakra

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New Delhi, Apr 20: The Indian Air Force has transferred Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman out of the Srinagar airbase where he was posted amid concerns over his security in the Kashmir Valley.

"The posting order of the officer has been issued and he would soon be moving out of the Srinagar air base to his new place of posting," an officer told ANI.

File photo of Abhinandan Varthaman

Orders have been issued for his transfer from Srinagar to another base in the western sector, reports said, terming the transfer as "routine one".

It is also learnt that the IAF was going to recommend Varthaman's name for Vir Chakra, the coveted wartime gallantry medal, which is the third highest after the Paramvir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.

Varthaman 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 an aerial combat. He downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan before his plane was hit.

The commander, who shot down a Pakistani F-16 jet, was captured and remained in custody across the border for two days. Varthaman was released by Pakistan and came back to India on March 1.

The IAF pilot went on leave in mid-March after security agencies completed a nearly two-week debriefing following his return from Pakistan. Sources said a medical board will review his fitness to help the IAF top brass decide whether he can return to fighter cockpit as desired by him.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp near Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.

Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations the next day. However, the IAF thwarted their plans. The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.

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