On I-Day, IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to get Vir Chakra
New Delhi, Aug 14: Indian Air Force's (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be conferred with Vir Chakra on 73rd Independence Day for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 during a dogfight over the Line of Control (LoC) on 27 February, after tensions rose between the two neighbours over the Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February.
IAF Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal will be honoured with Yudh Seva Medal for her role as a fighter controller during the February 27 aerial conflict between India and Pakistan. As part of the gallantry honours, Indian Army's Sapper Prakash Jadhav of 1 Rashtriya Rifles (Mahar) will be conferred Kirti Chakra (posthumously), for his gallant role in an operation in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, eight Army personnel will also be conferred Shaurya Chakra, five of them posthumously.
The IAF had recommended Abhinandan Varthaman for wartime gallantry medal Vir Chakra in April this year.
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.
Along with Abhinandan, pilots of the five Mirage-2000 fighter jets, who had dropped bombs on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror launch-pad in Balakot area in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunhkwa province, are also likely to be decorated with Vayu Sena medals.
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 Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.
The Vir Chakra is the third highest wartime military award in India.