At the award ceremony, President Ram Nath Kovind presented Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman with the Vir Chakra for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft in aerial combat in February 27, 2019. In the aerial clashes between Indian and Pakistani air forces that followed the Pulwama incident, Abhinandan Varthaman, then a Wing Commander, was engaged in a duel with a Pakistani fighter plane. On November 3, 2021, he was elevated to the rank of Group Captain.
As per official reports, Varthaman’s MiG-21 aircraft was shot down by Pakistani forces after he took down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet in aerial combat. The brave officer landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and was apprehended by Pakistani forces. Following diplomatic pressure from New Delhi on Islamabad, he was released.
Besides Varthaman, who is still one of the IAF’s most well-known officers, Sapper Prakash Jadhav was posthumously given the second-highest peacetime gallantry award, the Kirti Chakra, for neutralizing terrorists in an operation in Jammu and Kashmir.