National

Pilot Abhinandan Varthaman To Be Awarded Vir Chakra On Independence Day

Garima Behl | August 14, 2019 11:21 AM

NEW DELHI: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be awarded the Vir Chakra gallantry medal on Independence Day. 

Abhinandan Varthaman spent nearly 60 hours in Pakistan's custody after his MiG-21 Bison was shot down by Pakistan Air Force F-16s in February, Wing Commander Varthaman emerged a national hero after he shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet on February 27 during a dogfight near the Line of Control. He was captured by Pakistani forces and returned to India three days later, on March 1.

The dogfight took place a day after Indian Air Force jets bombed terror camps in Pakistan's Balakot after 40 soldiers were killed in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama by a suicide bomber of the Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Abhinandan Varthaman, 36, is likely to rejoin flying duties after clearing medical tests.

He had suffered injuries after ejecting from his damaged plane and parachuting to safety.

The pilot went through a series of physical and mental evaluations since his capture and release.

An examination soon after his return from Pakistan revealed injuries to his ribs. Pakistani officials claimed the injuries were the result of the assault by locals after his jet went down and asserted that he was treated in compliance with the Geneva Convention.

Wing Commander Varthaman said Pakistani authorities did not physically torture him but he was subjected to "mental harassment".

The Tamil Nadu-born aviator, hours after being freed, told senior IAF commanders he was ready to return to the cockpit.

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