IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman  |  Photo Credit: ANI
New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has transferred Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman out of the Srinagar airbase amid concerns over his security in the Kashmir valley.
The officer has been posted to an important airbase in the Western sector along the Pakistan border, reported a news agency, adding there were concerns over the officer’s security in Srinagar because of the presence of Pak-backed terrorist groups in the Kashmir Valley.
Meanwhile, the IAF has reportedly decided to recommend the Wing Commander for ‘Vir Chakra’, the third highest gallantry award in the military during the times of war. ANI mentioned sources as saying that the 12 Mirage 2000 pilots who bombed targets in Pakistan’s Balakot last month are being recommended for the Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
In the meantime, government sources told the news agency: “The posting order of the officer (Wing Commander Abhinandan Vathaman) has been issued and he would soon be moving out of the Srinagar air base to his new place of posting.”
Withholding the name of the airbase due to security reasons, sources added that the new posting is also a fighter base. They further said that the officer would resume his flying duties once he is cleared for it.
Pakistan had captured Varthaman after the IAF officer’s MiG-21 crashed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir following an aerial engagement with Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets on February 27.
After being in Pakistani captivity for more than 60 hours, the IAF officer returned to India on March 1.”Feeling good to be back home,” the 35-year-old Wing Commander had said in his first reaction after entering India, as per Amritsar Deputy Commissioner, Shivdular Singh Dhillon.
Notably, Pakistan had denied losing an F-16 fighter jet in the air raid across the LoC on February 27. However, earlier this month, the IAF had released radar image of the air battle establishing that its Mig-21 Bison flown by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthman had shot down a PAF F-16.
Complete your TV viewing experience with the best of Hollywood entertainment and News. Get the Times Movies And News pack at just Rs 13. Ask your cable/DTH provider for Times M.A.N. pack now. Know more