Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who had shot down a Pakistani F-16 near the Line of Control (LoC) in February resulting in his capture and subsequent release by Islamabad, will be conferred with the Vir Chakra, one of India's top military honours, according to reports.
The annoucement was reported by ANI on Wednesday morning.
Indian Air Force's (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to be conferred with Vir Chakra on Independence Day. (File pic) pic.twitter.com/an2fCoVNLbâ€” ANI (@ANI) August 14, 2019
On February 27, the Wing Commander brought down an F-16 jet of the Pakistan Air Force during a dogfight before his aircraft received hits and was brought down. He was apprehended by officials of the Pakistani Army on the same day and taken into custody. The fighter pilot had sustained a rib fracture, a back contusion and some bruises after he was allegedly attacked by locals at PoK.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India on March 1 after he was captured and was in Pakistani custody for two days. After returning and completing the medical procedure, although he was sent on sick leave for four weeks, he joined his squadron in Srinagar.
The mission by India was carried out in retaliation of a terror strike in Jammu & Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel and the attacker were killed.
Pakistani security forces had captured Abhinandan, but released him to India around 60 hours later at the Wagah border.
After his return to India on March 1, Varthaman, the son of a former high-ranking IAF official, had undergone tests in New Delhi and after clearing medical examination, he was subsequently posted out of Jammu and Kashmir as part of service policy as well as security reasons.
The Vir Chakra is the third highest wartime military award in India, after the Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra.
The Chakra is awarded for acts of gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land or at sea or in the air.
Inputs from IANS