New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is recommending Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman for the wartime gallantry medal ‘Vir Chakra’ for shooting down an F-16 in aerial conflict with Pakistan.
While Abhinandan has been recommended for the Vir Chakra, the 12 Mirage 2000 pilots who bombed targets in Pakistan are being recommended for the ‘Vayu Sena Medal’ for gallantry for their acts of bravery, government sources said.
The Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award in the military during the times of war after the Param Vir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra. In the meanwhile, amid concerns over Abhinandan`s security, the IAF has posted out the ace fighter pilot from Srinagar to another important air base in the western sector along the Pakistan border.
“The posting order of the officer has been issued and he would soon be moving out of the Srinagar air base to his new place of posting,” the government sources told ANI.
The new posting (name of the airbase being withheld due to security reasons) is also a fighter base and if the officer is cleared for flying, he would be able to continue his flying duties, the sources added.
Wing Commander Abhinandan has the unique distinction of being the only pilot in the world to have shot down an F-16 combat aircraft from his vintage MiG-21 Bison aircraft on February 27 during the aerial conflict with Pakistan.