On 22nd of November, Group Captain Varthaman Abhinandan was awarded the Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan. He shot down a Pakistan F-16 fighter jet in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack of February 2019.
The Vir Chakra to Abhinandan had been announced in August 2019 but has been awarded by the President now in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Vir Chakra is the third-highest Indian military honour during wartime after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Chakra.
A wing commander then, Abhinandan, 36, was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27, 2019, after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat.
Delhi: Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman being accorded the Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind, for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during aerial combat on February 27, 2019. pic.twitter.com/vvbpAYuaJX— ANI (@ANI) November 22, 2021
Motivational Facts about Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman:
- Group Captain Abhinandan belongs to the family of Bravehearts.
- His Father is a retired Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman with service number 13606.
- Service Number of Wing Commander Abhinandan is 27891.
- Abhinandan Joined Indian Air Force in 2004 under 173 Courses.
- His father retired Air Marshal S Varthaman joined Indian Air Force in 1973 and has more than 4000 hours of flying experience. In his military tenure, he had flown more than 40 different types of jet planes.
- His Wife is Squadron Leader Tanvi Marwaha, a retired Helicopter pilot. Her service number is 28800.
Citation For Vir Chakra
Displaying exceptional air combat acumen and knowledge of the enemy’s tactics, Wing Commander Varthaman Abhinandan scanned the !ow altitude airspace with his Airborne Intercept (Al) radar and picked up an enemy aircraft that was flying low to ambush the Indian fighter interceptor aircraft.
Abhinandan alerted the other formation pilots towards this surprise threat. He then consolidated the riposte, by gathering his wingman in an offensive formation against the hostile Pakistani aircraft now dropping weapons on Indian Army positions. This audacious and aggressive maneuver forced the enemy aircraft into tactical chaos. All the enemy aircraft thereafter turned back including the rear echelon aircraft who were yet to launch their air to ground weapons.
Wing Commander Varthaman Abhinandan then pursued a retreating enemy fighter bomber aircraft, and in the ensuing aerial combat, shot down an F-16 aircraft with his on-board missile. However, in the melee, one of the enemy aircraft fired multiple advanced BVR missiles, one of which hit his aircraft forcing him to eject in enemy territory. Despite being captured by the enemy, he continued to display exceptional resolve in dealing with the adversary in a stoic, brave and dignified manner till he was repatriated on 01 March 2019. His actions raised the morale of the armed forces in general and the IAF in particular.