After the Indian Air Force (IAF) recommended Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman for a Vir Chakra for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 during an aerial dogfight on February 27, Major Gaurav Arya has spoken to Republic TV. Major Arya said that the Wing Commander deserves the award as what he has achieved is truly legendary.
"It is a befitting honour for a brave man who is a skilled pilot who used technology from 1960s, he actually downed a fourth plus generaton American fighter aircraft. This is the stuff of legend and he deserves a Vir Chakra and I am happy he has been recommended the award.
"It is not just morale boosting for the officer, it is also morale boosting for the entire force. This will be remembered for a very long time but stories will be told of Abhinandan to young pilots about how to conduct yourself, not just for shooting down of an F-16. Pakistan is such an enemy who cannot be relied upon, they are beasts actually, but the way he conducted himself, when he looked at the eyes of the Captain and said, 'I am sorry sir I am not permitted to answer that' - that is the stuff of legend. His contribution is being paid back to him by a grateful nation in the form of Vir Chakra."
The Indian Air Force on Saturday recommended Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman for the wartime gallantry medal Vir Chakra for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 in an aerial dogfight on February 27
The Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award in the military during the times of war after the Param Vir Chakra and Mahavir Chakra.
In February, Wing Commander Varthaman shot down an F-16 combat aircraft from his legacy MiG-21 Bison aircraft. He had shot down Pakistan's F-16 fitted with AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles in the air.