Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman will be awarded the Vir Chakra on Monday by President Ram Nath Kovind for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during an aerial combat on February 27, 2019.
Varthaman was engaged in a battle with a Pakistani fighter jet in the aerial skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani Air Forces that followed the Pulwama attack. He was promoted to the rank of a Group Captain on November 3, 2021.
Varthaman’s MiG-21 fighter aircraft was shot down after he took down the F-16 and he was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army after he landed in their territory.
The Pakistan Army was forced to release him due to the extensive pressure exerted by the Indian side along with the international intervention into the matter.
Besides Varthaman, who remains one of the most celebrated officers of the IAF in the recent past, Sapper Prakash Jadhav will be presented the second-highest peacetime gallantry award Kirti Chakra (posthumously) for neutralising terrorists in an operation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal will be awarded Shaurya Chakra (posthumously) for his role in an operation which resulted in neutralising five terrorists. Naib Subedar Sombir will also receive the Shaurya Chakra posthumously for killing an A++ category terrorist during an anti-terror operation in J&K.