Abhinandan awarded Vir Chakra for shooting down Pakistani F-16 aircraft

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New Delhi: On 22nd November, President Ram Nath Kovind awarded the prestigious ‘Vir Chakra’ to Group Commander Varthaman Abhinandan for “ his tremendous courage” while shooting down a Pakistani F-16 aircraft in February 2019. He was wing commander at that time. 

The Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry medal after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Chakra. The Award was felicitated at the Defence Ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were also present at the event.

During the combat, Abhinandan’s aircraft was shot down and he was forced to eject in Pakistan territory. Despite being captured by the enemy, he continued to display exceptional patriotism in a dignified manner till he was returned back 1st march 2019. His actions raised the morale of the armed forces in general and the IAF in particular. The Citations praised Abhinandan  

The Abhinandan Episode took place after, Pakistan’s Air Force retaliation in February 2019, after India’s strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot. In the return, Wing Commander Abhinandan showed conspicuous courage and provided Pakistan an Answer. He was promoted to Group Captain earlier this month. 

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