President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday approved awards of 409 Gallantry and other Defence decorations to Armed Forces personnel and others on the eve of 71st Republic Day celebrations. A total of 19 top Indian Army commanders were awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM). The Army Commanders who were awarded the Param Vashishth Seva Medal include – Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) Lt Gen Satinder Kumar Saini.
Out of the 19 Officers who were awarded the PVSM, three were Major General-ranked officers. Besides, Indian Army commnders, six Indian Air Force and ther Indian NAvy officers were also awarded the PVSM. The government of India awarded Uttam Yiudh Seva Medal (UYSM) to four Indian Army Officers including Kargil war Hero Lt Gen Yogesh Kumar Joshi and Commander of Chinar Corps Lt Gen Kanwaljeet SIngh Dhillon. The other two officers who were conferred with the UYSM were Lt Gen Paramjit SIngh Sangha and Rajiv Sirohi. General Bipin Rawat Conferred With Param Vishisht Seva Medal in Recognition of Peace-Time Services.
Besides PVSM and UYSV, other awards approved by the President include – 53 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals, 10 Yudh Seva Medals, 123 Vishisht Seva Medals, four Bar to Sena Medals (Gallantry), 107 Sena Medals (Gallantry), five Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry), fourVayu Sena Medals (Gallantry), four Bar to Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), 36 Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), eight Nao Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), one Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) and 13 Vayu Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty).
Two IAF helicopter pilots – Squadron Leaders Ninad Anil Mandavgane and Siddharth Vashisht- who were killed by friendly fire in Jammu and Kashmir, the day when the Pakistan Air Force fighter jest violated the Indian air space were also awarded Vayu Sena Medal poshumously.
This year, Shaurya Chakra was awarded to six Indian Army personnel for showing bravery against all odds. Shaurya Chakra, the third highest gallantry award during peace time, was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Jyoti Lama, Major KB Singh, Naib Subedar Narender Singh, Naib Subedar Sombir, Naik Naresh Kumar and Sepoy Karmdeo Oraon. Three policemen – Challapilla Narasimha Rao, Kamal Kishore and Aman Kumar were also awarded Shaurya Chakra (posthumously).
An investigation into the Budgam Mi17 V5 helicopter crash revealed that an Indian air defence missile was fired shortly before the chopper crashed near Srinagar on February 27, reported The Economic Times. In the crash, six Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel, including two officers lost their lives. A civilian was also killed in the incident. The investigators are probing the final moments of the crash to find out whether the IFF (Identity, Friend or Foe) system was off or on.
The detailed investigation will be carried out to determine whether the IFF system failed in spite of multiple layers of safeguards meant to protect assets from friendly fire. If any discrepancy is found out then measures will be taken to improve the system. According to the report, on February 27, when over 25 Pakistani air force jets were detected along the Indian border, an Israeli origin missile was activated after an air defence alert was sounded over Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the border. ‘R-73 Selected’, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s Last Radio Message Before Ejecting Out of Mig-21 Bison.
According to the report, there were also concerns that armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) would also try to enter the Indian Territory along with the fighter jets. It might be possible that a slow moving target like the Mi 17 V 5 helicopter could potentially be mistaken for a low flying armed UAV, reported ET. When an air defence alert is sounded, there are a set of rules that transport aircraft and helicopters need to follow, and also aircraft need to switch on their IFF systems. 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?
Six IAF personnel – Wing Commander Sidharth Sharma, Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane, Sergeant Vikrant Sherawat, Corporal Deepak Pandey, Corporal Pankaj Kumar and engineer Vishal Kumar Pandey were killed in the crash. A civilian also lost his life in the incident. The 20-year-old Kifayat Hussain, was caught in the explosion after the crashed helicopter landed in fields in Budgam. The accident occurred at 10:10 am in the morning on February 27.
(Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@IAF_MCC)
On February 27, when the entire nation was praying for the safety of Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army after his aircraft crashed into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), we lost lost six IAF personnel in a Mi-17 V5 helicopter crash in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district. Amongst the deceased were Wing Commander Sidharth Sharma and Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane. 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?
The other IAF personnel who lost their lives in the crash were identified as Sergeant Vikrant Sherawat, Corporal Deepak Pandey, Corporal Pankaj Kumar and engineer Vishal Kumar Pandey. One Civilian was also killed in the crash. The 20-year-old Kifayat Hussain, was caught in the explosion after the crashed helicopter landed in fields in Budgam. The accident occurred at 10:10 am in the morning on February 27. Lockheed Martin Busts Pakistan’s Lie; American Aircraft Manufacturer Not to Sue India For Claiming IAF’s MiG-21 Bison Shot Down PAF F-16 Fighter Jet.
Yesterday, the last rites of Wing Commander Vashisht was performed in Chandigarh. The IAF officer’s wife, Aarti is also a squadron leader. She laid a wreath before the last rites were performed. The IAF officer was a fourth-generation member from his family in the armed forces. He was commissioned in the IAF in 2010 and last month, he received commendation for his role in the rescue operation during the Kerala floods.
Last rites of Wing Commander Vashisht:
Meanwhile, the last rites of Sq Ldr Mandavgane were performed at Amardham Crematorium in Nashik were performed at Amardham Crematorium in Nashik on Friday with full state honours. People who gathered in large number at the crematorium to bid adieu to the pilot, shouted slogans for the martyr. On this his wife asked people to join defence forces instead of shouting slogans. who died in the line of duty. Last rites of Sq Ldr Mandavgane:
The crash took place at around 10:00 am when the IAF was responding to the air space violation by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Initially, there were rumours that the ill-fated Mi-17 chopper was attacked by the PAF which crossed the Line of Control on Wednesday. Pakistan later denied any involvement in the crash. Meanwhile, on March 1, Pakistan released Wing Commander Varthaman after he was taken into custody by the Pakistan army after his fighter plane Mig-21 Bison crashed into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir during an ensuing battle. In the engagement, he also shot down Pakistan’s F-16 warplane before getting hit.