IAF promotes Balakot air strike operations hero Abhinandan Varthaman to Group Captain rank
New Delhi, Nov 3: The Indian Air Force has approved the rank of Group Captain for Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. He had involved in a dog fight with an enemy jet during an aerial combat with Pakistan in February 2019.
As per the officials, the rank has been approved and he will get it once a laid down procedure is completed. Group equivalent to a Colonel in the Indian Army.
On February 27, 2019, Varthaman downed a Pakistani jet when the neighbouring country launched retaliation against India for the Balakot airstrikes a day before.
Indian warplanes had attacked a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot following which Pakistani Air Force retaliated, triggering fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
The most visible face of the confrontation was Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman whose capture by Pakistan after downing his MiG-21 fighter. Before his jet was hit, he downed the F-16 fighter of Pakistan.
Varthaman was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan following pressure from India and the international community. He had suffered injuries while ejecting from his MiG-21 Bison during the aerial combat. Later that year, he was conferred with the Vir Chakra, India's third-highest war time gallantry medal. PTI