Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is all set to fly the MIG over the India Air Force Day parade today at Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. Three Mirage 2000 aircraft and 2 Su-30MKI fighter aircraft will fly in ‘Avenger formation’. The fighter jets are being flown by pilots who took part in Balakot airstrike. The braveheart of the Indian Air Force Wing Commander Varthaman, who spent some days in Pakistani custody after shooting down a modern Pakistani F16 jet after which his MiG-21 was shot down in a dogfight the with Pakistan Air Force just a day after the February 26 Balakot airstrike, was conferred with the Vir Chakra on Independence Day.
#AirForceDay: Air Fighter Pilots who took part in Balakot air strikes have been included in the parade as a mark of tribute to the teams which carried out the strike on February 26 and thwarted the Pakistani aerial attack on February 27. https://t.co/tiEgd0zYD6— ANI (@ANI) October 8, 2019
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s 51 Squadron will be awarded unit citation by IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria for thwarting Pakistani aerial attack and shooting down a Pakistani F-16 on Feb 27, ANI said. The award will be received by commanding officer Group Captain Satish Pawar. The number 9 squadron whose Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft carried out the Balakot aerial strikes on February 26 during 'Operation Bandar', will also be awarded unit citation, as per ANI. The airstrike was carried out a day after India carried out following the dastardly Pulwama attack by Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammed on February 14.
Addressing the annual Air Force Day press conference, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria stated that one of the major achievements in the last few months was the Balakot Airstrike in Pakistan. While conceding that India lost a MiG-21, he reiterated that Pakistan had also lost the F-16. This has been a bone of contention between the two countries, with Pakistan refusing to accept the loss of its fighter jet. Furthermore, he observed that the Indian Air Force (IAF) was ready to meet any contingency arising out of uncertainties created by the changing geopolitical scenario.