Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Saturday resumed his assigned duties at Suratgarh Air Force Station in Rajasthan, reported The Times of India. However, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has not confirmed his posting to Suratgarh base saying that it is a confidential information. Meanwhile, the force has only confirmed that the IAF officer is posted in Rajasthan.
Local sources told TOI that Wg Cdr Varthaman resumed duties in Suratgarh. However, it is not clear whether the IAF officer will resume to flying after the February 27 incident. In the last week of March, Wg Cdr Varthaman joined his squadron in Srinagar. The IAF transferred the officer out of the Srinagar airbase amid concerns over his security in Kashmir valley. 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.
Earlier this month, a video of the IAF officer’s interaction with his colleagues went viral on social media. In the video, Wg Cdr Varthaman was looking fit and was seen clicking pictures with his air force colleagues and army personnel. 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.”
Wg Cdr Varthaman was part of a team comprising 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. 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?
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. ‘R-73 Selected’, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s Last Radio Message Before Ejecting Out of Mig-21 Bison.
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. He was also recommended by the IAF for the Vir Chakra, the third highest wartime gallantry award after the Paramvir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.