The Indian Air Force on its 87th foundation day flew the Sukhoi-30MKI, the plane that Pakistan claimed to have shot down in February earlier this year. At the Air Force Day parade held at the Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad, three Mirage-2000s and two larger Sukhoi-30MKIs flew in the Avenger formation, reported NDTV.
The Sukhoi jet that flew on the right during the formation was the same aircraft that Pakistan claimed it had shot down in an aerial dogfight on February 27 near the India-Pakistan border after the Balakot strike. This was a day after India launched air strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Pakistanâ€™s Balakot.
Also part of the parade was Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who flew past in an avenger formation leading a group of three MiG-21 Bison fighter jets. His aerial manoeuvre was greeted with huge cheers from the crowds gathered at the air base to witness the air show.
Heroes of the pre-dawn airstrikes carried out on February 27 by Indian Air Force (IAF) upon a terror camp near Balakot in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan were also part of the spectacular air show. These pilots had bombed the terror camp with five Mirage 2000 fighter jets.
Later, in a skirmish, after Wing Commander Abhinandan had downed a Pakistani F-16, he was captured by Pakistani Army officials and released after spending three days in captivity. Pakistan had then claimed that an Indian Sukhoi-30MKI was also downed by their air force personnel, a claim that was strongly rejected by India. The IAF had then stated that all the Sukhoi-30 fighter jets that were engaged in the air combat with the Pakistan jets, had returned to base safely. The IAF had, in fact, then stated that they had witnessed Wing Commander Abhinandan shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during the air combat.