Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Saturday cheered by army and air force personnel. The video of the IAF officer’s interaction with his colleagues is doing rounds on social media. In the video, Wg Cdr Varthaman looking fit and is seen clicking pictures with his air force colleagues and army personnel. ‘R-73 Selected’, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s Last Radio Message Before Ejecting Out of Mig-21 Bison.
The IAF pilot also joined men in shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. During his interaction, Wg Cdr Varthaman thanked the countrymen for their wishes. He said, “These photographs are not for you but for your families. I have not been able to meet them. I have recovered because of their prayers and the prayers of many.” Pakistan Air Force Pilot Shahzaz Ud Din Whose F-16 Was Shot Down by Wg Cd Abhinandan Varthaman Mistaken to be Indian; Lynched by PoK Locals?
Video if Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman:
First video since he was discharged from hospital, here’s Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman taking pictures with men. This is likely sometime last month. Video from some Air Force groups. He looks well! 👊🏽 pic.twitter.com/Os5Pu6aJI1
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) May 4, 2019
In the last week of March, Wg Cdr Varthaman joined his squadron in Srinagar. However, the IAF transferred the officer out of the Srinagar airbase amid concerns over his security in Kashmir valley. Wg Cdr Varthaman has been posted to an important airbase in the Western sector. Last month, he was also recommended by the force for the Vir Chakra, the third highest wartime gallantry award after the Paramvir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra. The IAF officer has been recommended for the gallantry award for shooting down Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet on February 27, after the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) warplanes violated the Indian airspace.
Wg Cdr Varthaman was part of a team comprosing of six Mi-21 Bison pilots who took off from Srinagar, along with Su-30 MKIs, Mig-29s and Mirage-2000s from other air force stations in response to Pakistan’s airspace violation on February 27. The PAF fighters dropped bombs at army formation camps in West of Rajouri in Sunderbani of Jammu and Kashmir. According to reports, the dogfight lasted for about 15 minutes, during which the IAF pilot managed to “lock on” to PAF’s F-16 and then fired R-73 missile. IAF Air Strikes in Pakistan: ‘We Don’t Count the Dead, Says Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa After BJP Chief Amit Shah Claims Over 250 JeM Terrorists Killed in Balakot.
During the aerial combat, Wg Cdr Varthaman let loose the Vympel R-73 air-to-air missile at the Pakistan fighter jet, F-16, before he himself was hit. After ejecting from his MIg-21 Bison, his parachute drifted in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) where he was taken into custody by the Pakistani Army. Pakistan’s F-16 Which Violated Indian Air Space Shot Down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman with Mig-21 Bison; IAF Presents Cover of AMRAAM Missile As Evidence.
The IAF officer was released almost after 60 hours by Pakistan on March 1. After his return from Pakistan via the Attari-Wagah border, Wg Cdr Varthaman underwent a series of medical tests at Army’s Research and Referral (R&R) hospital in Delhi.
(Picture Courtesy: Video Grab/Twitter)