Group Captain of Indian Air Force Abhinandan Varthaman was conferred with ‘Vir Chakra’ today. The Gallantry Awards ceremony took place at Rashtrapati Bhawan today where Group Captain Abhinandan was honoured. He was honoured with Vir Chakra for knocking down F-16 fighter plane of Pakistan on February 27, 2019 during an air-battle. On February 14, 2019, a terrorist group of Pakistan ‘Jaish-e-Mohammad’ had attacked the convoy of Indian Army in which the country lost its 40 brave soldiers.
In order to give a befitting reply to the militants, the Indian Air Force conducted an air strike at Balakot on the night of 26-27 November. This air strike killed more than 300 terrorists sitting in Pakistan. On the very next day of air strike, F-16 planes of Pakistan tried to enter India but Indian Air force had crushed them. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, now group captain, was driving MIG-21 at that time and he had knocked down Pakistan’s F-16 with MIG-21. However, afterwards, Abhinadan’s plane had crashed in Pakistan;s territory following which he was captured by the Pakistan Army. After around 60 hours, Abhinandan was released from Pakistan following which his medical test was carried out, which led to revelation of physical torture faced by him. Several videos of him also went viral which gave an insight into his fearless attitude.
Abhinandan was praised worldwide as he had destroyed an F-16 plane with MIG-21. F-16 was manufactured by America and is considered very advanced fighter plane while MIG-21 is a 60 year old plane manufactured by Russia, which was bought by India in 70s.
Vir Chakra is the Indian wartime military bravery award presented for exceptional courage shown. It comes third in precedence in wartime gallantry award, after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra. It can be conferred posthumously as well and was founded on January 26, 1950. Before Abhinandan, this award was given to Hawaldar Chuni Lal for bravery in Kargil War.
Naib Subedar Sombir was conferred with Shaurya Chakra posthumously today for killing a dangerous terrorist in Kashmir. His wife and mother collected the award.
Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal was also awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously. His wife Lt. Nitika Kaul and his mother collected the award. He was honoured for collecting 200kg explosives and for killing 5 terrorists.
Sapper Prakash Jadhav from Corps of Engineers was awarded Kirti Chakra posthumously. His mother and wife received the award on his behalf