India's Wing Commander Abhinandan may get Vir Chakra

Abhinandan, Wing Commander, Vir Chakra, India, Pakistan

New Delhi - He had been captured by Pakistani forces, but released later.


Published: Thu 8 Aug 2019, 2:22 PM

Last updated: Thu 8 Aug 2019, 4:24 PM

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who had been captured in Pakistan and subsequently released, is likely to be decorated with the Vir Chakra, one of India's top military honours, defence sources said on Thursday.

Along with Abhinandan, pilots of five Mirage-2000 fighter jets are also likely to be decorated with Vayu Sena medals.

"The final list of gallantry awardees will get the nod from President Ram Nath Kovind on August 14. Only after the list has been formally approved by the president can we disclose the names of awardees to the general public," a senior Indian Air Force official said.

Abhinandan had strayed into Pakistan territory after shooting down the F-16 during a dogfight that had taken place on February 27. His own aircraft, a MiG-21 Bison, had been hit by a missile forcing him to eject from the fighter jet before it crashlanded in Pakistan.

Pakistani security forces had captured Abhinandan, but released him to India around 60 hours later at the Wagah border.

The Vir Chakra is the third highest wartime military award in India.

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