Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman Receives Vir Chakra For Shooting Down Pakistani F-16 Fighter Aircraft

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New Delhi, 22 November 2021: Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman has been 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.

The then Wing Commander, Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet from a MiG-21 aircraft in aerial combat between the Indian and Pakistan Air Force on February 27, a day after the Balakot airstrike. He was promoted to the rank of Group Captain on November 3, 2021.

Abhinandan was part of the Srinagar-based 51 Squadron and flew on February 27, 2019, to thwart an airstrike launched by the Pakistanis.

Pakistan-based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammed carried out a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama on 14 February 2019, in which 40 Indian soldiers were martyred. After this, India conducted an airstrike on terrorist hideouts in Balakot on 26 February in which more than 300 terrorists were killed.

Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal was posthumously awarded the Shaurya Chakra for his role in an operation against terrorists. In this encounter, five terrorists were killed by the army and 200 kg of explosive material was recovered. His wife Lt. Nitika Kaul and mother received the award from the President.