New Delhi, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthman, who was involved in the dogfight with Pakistani fighter aircraft a day after the Balakot airstrike, has been promoted to the rank of Group Captain, sources said.
Varthman was among the pilots who faced the Pakistani fighter jets on February 27, 2019, a day after India conducted an airstrike at a terrorist camp in Balakot on February 26, 2019.
In response to the airstrike, Pakistan scrambled its fighter jets. According to the IAF, Abhinandan’s MiG-21 shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet, before being shot down. He landed on the Pakistani side of the border, and was held captive for about 60 hours before being released. Pakistan had denied reports of its F-16 aircraft being shot down.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthman was awarded a Vir Chakra, third highest war time gallantry award.