Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of the Indian Air Force (IAF), who was arrested after being shot down by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) over intrusion in February 2019, will be conferred with the Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest wartime medal.
According to media reports, Abhinandan’s name was recommended by the IAF for the gallantry awards annually conferred upon on India’s Independence Day.
Meanwhile, Indian media has claimed that the IAF pilot was shot down because he could not hear instructions asking him to turn back after his communications system was jammed by Pakistan.
“If his MiG-21 Bison had been equipped with anti-jamming technology, Abhinandan may have turned around when instructed to,” a report claimed, adding that it would have prevented him from being shot down and taken captive by Pakistan.
Abhinandan was shot down during a dogfight with PAF jets on February 27 as tensions soared following the February 14 Pulwama attack. He was handed over by Pakistan to India at the Wagah-Attari border crossing on March 1 as a peace gesture.