IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman declared fit, to resume flying soon
Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by the Pakistan Army in February, is set to resume flying soon. The pilot, who was taken off flying duties due to injuries, has cleared medical fitness tests and will fly the MiG-21 fighter jet after two weeks. He has been declared fit to fly by the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Bengaluru. Here's more.
Taken off flying duties due to injuries sustained in Pakistan
Abhinandan was taken off the flying duties due to injuries sustained in Pakistan after ejecting from his MiG-21 in a dogfight with Pakistan on February 27, an IAF officer said before the pilot underwent medical fitness test for resuming the flying operations.
Expect him to start flying after a fortnight: IAF official
"There is some paperwork that needs to be done before Wing Commander Abhinandan can start flying...," a senior IAF official said after the Wing Commander was declared fit to fly. "...Also, he has to do a short refresher course since he has away from flying for a few months. We expect him to start flying after a fortnight," the official added.
IAF recommends Abhinandan for Vir Chakra
Meanwhile, the IAF has also recommended Abhinandan for Vir Chakra - the third highest gallantry award in the military during times of war. The government is expected to officially announce the gallantry award for the Wing Commander on August 15. Abhinandan, who was earlier posted at Srinagar, was transferred from the Kashmir Valley in April to Rajasthan frontline airbase due to security threat.
Abhinandan was part of air-force that chased Pakistani jets away
Retaliating to the February 14 Pulwama terror attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Indian Air Force carried out airstrikes on the terror outfit's training camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26. On 27 February, however, the Pakistan Air Force intruded the Indian airspace to target military installations in the country. Abhinandan was part of the air force that chased Pakistani jets away, foiling their attempt.
Returned to India after 60 hours in Pakistan's detention
Abhinandan was captured by the Pakistan Army after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight. He had, however, shot down a Pakistani F-16 jet before his aircraft was hit. He was captured by Pakistan's army when his parachute drifted towards Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Abhinandan returned to India on 1 March after remaining for nearly 60 hours in Pakistan's custody.