• Tuesday, February 07, 2023

HEADLINE STORY

Indian Air Chief Flies MiG 21 With Abhinandan

Varthaman started flying the MiG 21 about two weeks ago, nearly six months after sustaining injuries while ejecting from a fighter plane during an aerial combat between India and Pakistan on February 27 (Photo: ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images).

By: Radhakrishna NS

INDIAN Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa and Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the IAF pilot who became the face of a tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan in February, on Monday flew a MiG 21 fighter jet here.

Varthaman started flying the MiG 21 about two weeks ago, nearly six months after sustaining injuries while ejecting from a fighter plane during an aerial combat between India and Pakistan on February 27.

On Monday (2), IAF Chief Dhanoa and Abhinandan took a sortie on the MiG 21 jet from the Pathankot air base, officials said.

The 36-year-old IAF pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat. Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan.

Varthaman was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan. He was taken off flying duties because of his injuries.

Varthaman was conferred the Vir Chakra, the coveted wartime gallantry medal, for downing the F-16 jet of Pakistan during the aerial combat.

The Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award after the Paramvir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.

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