HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The award was presented by the president in the Rashtrapati Bhavan
  • Varthaman was awarded with the Vir Chakra for being brave in dealing with a Pakistani F-16 over the LoC in 2019
  • Besides Vir Chakra, Kirt Chakra and Shaurya Chakra were awarded to respective personnel

On Monday, group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman was awarded the Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Abhinandan gained immense popularity within the Indian masses after he shot down a Pakistani F-16 jet while passing through a collision at the Line of Control (LoC) on February 27, 2019.

The president also awarded a Kirti Chakra to Prakash Yadav, for the portrayal of his bravery during the counterinsurgency operations at Kashmir three years ago. Shaurya Chakras were awarded to Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal and Naib Subedar respectively. The statement which came while Abhinandan was being awarded read, “Displaying exceptional air combat acumen and knowledge of the enemy’s tactics, Abhinandan scanned 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….Abhinandan alerted the other formation pilots towards this surprise threat.”

Earlier in the Independence Day Ceremony in 2019, Abhinandan’s Vir Chakra was announced. The citation presented in favour of the group Captain, stated that he dealt with the Pakistani aircrafts with great valour and aggressiveness. The statement read, “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 March 1, 2019.”

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