Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who spent days in Pakistani arrest when his MiG-21 was shot down in a dogfight with PDF jets a day after the Feb-26 Balakot airstrike, is likely be awarded the Vir Chakra on Independence Day, sources said Wed.
The 36-year-old IAF pilot had sustained injuries while discharging from his MiG-21 Bison during the flying combat between Indian and Pakistani air forces on Feb-27.
Wg Cdr Abhinandan Varthaman, who became the appearance of a tight military battle between India and Pakistan, is set to fly MiG-21 within a few weeks as a medicinal board, cleared his return to warrior cockpit.
Official experts said IAF’s Bangaluru-based Institute of Aerospace Medicine had given the go-ahead to Wg Cdr Abhinandan to fly again following careful medical evaluation.
The Pakistani Army arrested Wg Cdr Abhinandan on Feb- 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dog fight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat. Before his plane was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. He was freed on the night of March 1 by Pakistan.
IAF fighter jets attacked a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist coaching camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on Feb-26, nearly 2-weeks after the Pulwama strike.
Pakistan revenged on Feb-27 by trying to target Indian military bases.