Wing Commander Abhinandhan Varthaman is likely to be decorated with Vir Chakra, India’s top military honour. The IAF officer who reportedly shot down an F-16 aircraft of Pakistan’s Air Force subsequently was caught by the locals and police however was released by Pakistan in 3 days.
In addition to this, five IAF pilots who were part of the Balakot attack are likely to be decorated with Vayu Sena Medal, said sources. The names of all will be disclosed the evening before the Independence day celebrations.
Abhinandhan’s connect with Hyderabad
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, a MiG-21 Bison jet pilot, passed out of the Hakimpet IAF training Centre in 2003. He is the son of an Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman (retired), who opted for fighter pilot training after completion of stage 1 and 2 training at Dundigal and Hakimpet- Hyderabad respectively.
Squadron leader Abhinandan Varthaman (service number 27891) who has been often described as an avid reader and an outstanding speaker, was commissioned into t he IAF in 2004. Later based on the requirement of the Air HQ director of training in consultant with the director of the operation and his reference, he was trained at centres like Bathinda, Halwara of the IAF.
A senior retired IAF officer, Wing Commander T. J Reddy (retired) said “ Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman (retired ) was my junior, he was the Assistant Chief of the Air staff- Intelligence before he was promoted to the rank of Air Marshal. The officer’s and his wife live in Chennai while the son Abhinandan Varthaman lives in Jodhpur. When Senior Varthaman was promoted to Air Marshal he was made in-charge of east air command”.
He further adds, “ We identified Abhinandan Varthaman the moment the Pakistan Military released the video, saw him wounded and blindfolded.
Fifteen years into the service, officer Abhinandan Varthaman was promoted to Wing commander rank not too long ago. He is married to Squadron Lieutenant Tanvi Marwaha (retired ) and father to a young boy.