New Delhi: Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, whose fighter aircraft was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistan Air Force on February 27, will be flying the MiG-21 fighter within the next fortnight, senior officials said.
According to Hindustan Times report, the Bangalore-based Institute of Aerospace Medicine - the final certifying authority on the fitness of a pilot – declared Wing Commander Abhinandan fit to fly.
Varthaman was part of the fighter fleet that was sent to counter a package of incoming Pakistan Air Force fighters comprising F-16s among others on February 27, 2019. The day before on February 26 – Indian fighters comprising Mirage-2000 had targeted terror training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
Pakistan responded the next morning by sending fighters to bomb Indian military installations along the Line-of Control.
He had shot down an US-made F-16 fighter jet during the dogfight and was taken prisoner by Pakistan after he ejected into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The Indian Air Force has recommended a gallantry award – Vir Chakra – the third-highest wartime gallantry award - for Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. The announcement is expected to be made on August 15.