The Indian Air Force has recommended Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman for the third highest wartime gallantry award, the Vir Chakra, for shooting down an enemy fighter plane in aerial combat against Pakistan Air Force.
After the Param Vir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra, the Vir Chakra is the 3rd highest gallantry award in the military during times of war.
According to ToI, the IAF headquarters is yet to collate all the awards to be presented on August 15. It is a confidential process and that the medals will be officially announced once inked in by the President.
On February 27, Wg. Cdr. Abhinandan was part of the team that engaged in an aerial combat with the Pakistan Air Force during aerial combat. However, his Mig-21 was shot down across the LoC, in Pakistan territory.
The IAF lost one MiG-21 in the aerial engagement & the Pilot ejected safely, his parachute drifted into POJ&K where he was taken into custody by Pakistan Army. (4/5)— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) March 1, 2019
However, despite physical injuries and extremely distressing situations, Wg. Cdr. Abhinanadan maintained a brave demeanor. On March 1, he was released by the Pakistani Army as a peace gesture.
Currently, there are reports that state Wg. Cdr. Abhinandan may soon be cleared to resume his duties from a new base to which he was transferred to on his return.