TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Aug 14, 2019, 12:16 IST
- Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be conferred with Vir Chakra, India’s third highest wartime medal
- Sapper Prakash Jadhav and CRPF Dy Comdt Harshpal Singh will be conferred with Kirti Chakras
- Another 14 personnel will be conferred with Shaurya Chakras
NEW DELHI: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be conferred with the Vir Chakra , India’s third highest wartime medal, on Independence Day for shooting down a Pakistan F-16 during the February 27 air-skirmish between the Indian Air Force and Pakistan Air Force a day after Balakot strikes.
Sapper Prakash Jadhav, who sacrificed his life in an encounter with terrorists at Kulgam in November 2018, and CRPF Dy Comdt Harshpal Singh will be conferred with Kirti Chakras. Another 14 personnel will be conferred with Shaurya Chakras.
Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra are the second and third highest gallantry medals after Ashoka Chakra during peacetime. Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry medal after Param Vir Chakra & Maha Vir Chakra in war-time (presence of the enemy).
Indian Air Force’s Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal will be conferred with the Yudh Seva Medal for her role as a fighter controller during the February 27 aerial conflict.
The Mirage-2000 pilots who conducted the successful bombing of the main Jaish-e-Mohammed facility at Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in the pre-dawn air strikes on February 26, in turn, will be awarded with Vayu Sena (gallantry) medals.
Varthaman’s name was recommended by the IAF for the gallantry awards annually conferred upon on Independence day.
The 35-year-old Wing Commander was flying a MiG-21 Bison when he shot Pakistan’s F-16. Seconds after Varthaman made the historic kill of an F-16 by a MiG-21, his own fighter aircraft was hit by Pakistan’s missile and he was forced to eject. He landed on Pakistan’s territory and was captured. After staying in Pakistan’s captivity for almost 60 hours, the IAF hero was returned to India on March 1.
The February 27 clash took place a day after the Mirage-2000s struck targets in Balakot in response to the Pulwama suicide attack in Kashmir in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force men were killed on February 14.
(With inputs from agencies)
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