Balakot hero Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is promoted to the rank of Group Captain. The rank of Group Captain is equivalent to the rank of Colonel in the Indian Army.


WING COMMANDER ABHINANDAN had himself involved in a sweep-stake with a Pakistani fighter plane. He was also awarded with the Shaurya Chakra for taking down an F-16 Combat Aircraft during this confontration.

Abhinandan’s , MiG-21 fighter aircraft was shot down by the Pakistani forces. He had at first shot the F-16 and had to land onto the area known as PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). It was when he had landed that he was taken into custody by the Pakistani Army.

He showcased an exemplary display of courage when under custody. After Indian government’s immense pressure in accordance with the International intervention, the Pakistani Army had realesed him.

Abhinandan was a part of the Srinagar based 51 squadron and flew in to thwart an aerial attack launched by the Pakistanis on February 27, 2019.

India launched an aerial strike on Pakistan’s terrorist facility in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area run by the Jaish-e-Mohammed.


Abhinandan VarthamanVrC (VIR CHAKRA) (born 21 June 1983) is an Indian Air Force fighter pilot who, during the 2019 India–Pakistan standoff, was held captive in Pakistan for 60 hours after his aircraft was shot down in an aerial dogfight. He was awarded with Vir Chakra by the Indian government for the shooting down of a PAF F-16 with his MiG-21 Bison.

On 27 February 2019, Abhinandan was flying a MiG-21 as a part of a sortie that was scrambled to intercept an intrusion into Indian-administered Kashmir by Pakistani aircraft. In the dogfight that ensued, he crossed into Pakistani airspace and his aircraft was struck by a missile. Abhinandan ejected and safely descended into the village of Horran in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, approximately 7 km (4.3 miles) from the Line of Control.

On 28 February 2019, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan announced at a joint sitting of the Parliament of Pakistan, that the government had decided to release Abhinandan the next day as a “gesture of peace”.Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, said his government announced the release of the IAF Wing Commander out of a desire for peace and that there was no compulsion or pressure on Pakistan.


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