Indian Air Force is recommending Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman for the ‘wartime gallantry medal Vir Chakra’ for taking down F-16 in aerial combat with Pakistan, as per the reports.
While the ace fighter pilot has been recommended for the Vir Chakra, the 12 Mirage 2000 pilots who bombed targets in the neighbouring country are being recommended for the ‘Vayu Sena Medal’ for gallantry for their acts of bravery, government sources added in a statement.
FYI, the Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award in the military in those times of war after the Param Vir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra. With some concerns over Abhinandan`s security, the Indian Air Force posted out the Wing commander from Srinagar to another air base in the western sector along the Pakistan border. The name of the airbase is not disclosed due to security reasons.
“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,” government sources told ANI.
Sources added that the new posting is a fighter base and if the officer is cleared for flying, he would be able to resume his flying duties.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has carved out a unique reputation for himself as the only pilot in the world to have taken down an F-16 combat aircraft from his vintage MiG-21 Bison aircraft on February 27 during the aerial combat with Pakistan.
However, there were concerns about his security in Srinagar owing to the presence of Pakistan-backed terrorist groups which includes a large number of Pakistani jihadis in the Kashmir Valley.
Previously this week, Wg Cdr Abhinandan had gone through medical tests at a Delhi-based facility for becoming eligible to fly the MiG-21s.
Interestingly, Abhinandan has flown various types of fighter aircraft in the Air Force including the great Su-30MKI.