Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s 51 Squadron is all set to receive a unit citation by Chief Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria for thwarting Pakistan aerial attack and shooting down a Pakistani F-16 jet on February 27, 2019, according to ANI. The number 9 squadron whose Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft carried out the Balakot aerial strikes on February 26 will also be conferred a unit citation, added ANI.
Along with the units which carried out Balakot strike, Squadron leader Minty Agarwal’s 601 Signal Unit will also be awarded unit citation for their role in the same.
The award ceremony is scheduled for October 8 and the citation will be received by commanding officer Group Captain Satish Pawar.
The Balakot air strike was carried out by India in retaliation to Pakistan’s Pulwama attack, which killed over 40 CRPF personnel on February 14 this year.
During Pakistan’s counter-attack, in response to the Balakot air strike, Abhinandan Varthaman flew a MiG-21 Bison fighter jet into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which was shot down by a Pakistan Air Force’s F-16. He too was caught but was released by the Pakistanis due to the pressure exerted on it by India and the international community.
He was also conferred with the third-highest wartime gallantry award, Vir Chakra on the 73rd Independence Day.
(With inputs from agencies)