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Group Captain Abhinanadan Varthaman receives Vir Chakra, other officers conferred gallantry awards

Group Captain Abhinanadan Varthaman was given Vir Chakra for his outstanding role in combating Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 fighter jet in 2019 during an aerial dogfight. 

President to honour Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman with Vir Chakra today
New Delhi, First Published Nov 22, 2021, 10:41 AM IST
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New Delhi: Pakistan’s F-16 hunter Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman, Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, Sapper Prakash Jadhav among others were conferred gallantry awards by President Ramnath Kovind at an investiture ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the national capital on Monday, for their valour, courageous action and self sacrifice. 

Wing Commander Abhinanadan Varthaman, now promoted to Group Captain, was given Vir Chakra for his outstanding role in combating Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 fighter jet in 2019 during an aerial dogfight. 

The Indian Air Force officer was held captive for three days by the Pakistani Army on February 27, 2019 after he ejected from his MiG-21 Bison after shooting down the Pakistan’s fighter aircraft during the dogfight. 

He sustained injuries while ejecting from the aircraft. The aerial combat was carried out to give a befitting reply to Pakistan Air Force after it violated the Indian air space on February 27.

A day ago, Indian Air Force had bombarded the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot, about two weeks after the CRPF convoy was ambushed in Pulwama, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. 

Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal (P)

The Indian Army officer from Dehradun received the Shaurya Chakra (posthumously) for his role in an anti-terror operation in Jammu and Kashmir.

On his behalf, his wife who is also an Indian Army officer Lt Nitika Kaul and mother Saroj Dhoundiyal received the award from the president.

Major Dhoundiyal was part of an operation in Pinglang area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama.

He and his team was on the trail of those behind the Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers. The force managed to killed one of the plotter of the Pulwama attack, Kamran and four others and also recovered 200 kg explosive material.

Along with Major Dhoundiyal, three other soldiers were also attained martyrdom. 

Also read: Keeping Indo-Pacific open, safe, and secure primary objective of Indian Navy: Rajnath Singh

Sapper Prakash Jadhav 

He was from Corps of Engineers. He was conferred with the second-highest peacetime gallantry award Kirti Chakra (posthumously) for neutralising terrorists in an operation in Jammu and Kashmir. 

His wife and mother received the award from the president. In the operation, two terrorists were also eliminated in the gunfight. Jadhav, who was 29, belonged to Karnataka.

Naib Subedar Sombir 

He was conferred with Shaurya Chakra posthumously for killing an A++ category terrorist during an operation in Jammu and Kashmir.

On a specific input about the presence of militants in Kulgam’s Turigam village, Naik Subedar Sombir laid cordon and search operations in the area. 

The two sides had fierce gunfight during which Sombir got hit by two bullets and was seriously injured. 

He was immediately shifted to the 92 Base Hospital, but unfortunately, he later succumbed to his injuries and was martyred.

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