IAF's Abhinandan Varthaman who shot down Pak F-16 honoured with Vir Chakra
Indian Air Force Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman who had shot down a Pakistani F-16 in February 2019 during an air battle was honoured with the prestigious Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday.
"President Kovind presents Vir Chakra to Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Varthaman Abhinandan. He showed conspicuous courage, demonstrated gallantry in the face of the enemy while disregarding personal safety and displayed exceptional sense of duty," the government said.
Varthaman's MiG-21 Bison intercepted Pakistan's F-16 and was involved in a dogfight.
The citation said the Indian Air Force pilot "displayed exceptional air combat acumen and knowledge of the enemy's tactics" while "scanning the low altitude airspace with his Airborne Intercept (AI) radar and picked up an enemy aircraft that was flying low to ambush the Indian fighter-interceptor aircraft."
His MiG-21 plane was hit by a missile and he ejected into POK. Varthaman's conduct during the capture was applauded at the ceremony for being "brave and dignified".
Abhinandan Varthaman spent three days in captivity and was released by Pakistani authorities as he crossed the Wagah border into India.