The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K Palaniswamy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi recommending Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s name for the ‘Param Vir Chakra.’
In his letter written on Friday, Chief Minister Palaniswami said, “Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman displayed amazing poise and confidence in the face of adverse conditions, which has won him many hearts across the country. It is appropriate that he be awarded India’s highest military honour ‘Param Vir Chakra (PVC)’ for displaying most inimitable gallantary and valour.”
The Param Vir Chakra (PVC) is India's highest military decoration, awarded for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime. Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously for his exceptional service during the Kargil war. So far, only 21 soldiers have been awarded.
It is, however, unclear whether Wing Commander Abhinandan is eligible for the award since PVC is given for exceptional service during wartime.
The Chief Minister’s letter described the terror attack by the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) on February 14 that killed more than 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force. “In response, India initiated counter terrorism action against a training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan,” his letter stated. Adding that Abhinandan was captured after his MiG 21 Bison shot down a Pakistan Air Force fighter, the letter also said that the government of Pakistan released Abhinandan on March 1 following “diplomatic initiatives of the Hon’ble Prime Minister and intense international pressure.”
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by the Pakistan military after the fighter aircraft he flew was shot down. As he ejected safely out of his aircraft, he landed on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control and was taken into custody by the Pakistan military. He was then handed over to the government of India on March 1 after spending more than 48 hours in Pakistan. After he was handed over, Abhinandan underwent debriefings by security agencies while undergoing medical treatment at the military hospital in New Delhi. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa also met Abhinandan in the hospital on March 2, a day after he was handed over to India.