New Delhi: Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by the Pakistan Army on February 27,  led a formation of the IAF’s MiG-21 Bison during Air Force Day celebrations at Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad on Tuesday.Also Read - IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, Along With BS Dhanoa, Takes to Skies

Besides, Air Fighter Pilots, who took part in Balakot air strikes were also included in the parade as a mark of tribute to the teams which carried out the aerial strike on February 26 and thwarted the Pakistani aerial attack, a day after on Feb 27.  They flew 3 Mirage 2000 aircraft and 2 Su-30MKI fighter aircraft in ‘Avenger formation’, during the event. Also Read - Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to be Conferred With Vir Chakra on August 15

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Meanwhile, Abhinandan’s 51 Squadron will also receive unit citation award from IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria for their exemplary role in executing the Balakot aerial strikes. On February 27, the Pakistan Army shot Abhinandan and captured him after he engaged in an aerial dogfight with Pakistan Air Force (PAF) aircraft for violating the Indian air space. Before being shot, the IAF wing commander had shot down an F-16 of the PAF with his Mig-21 Bison.

The MiG-21 Bison is highly upgraded version of the Soviet-era fighter jet. The upgrades include equipping it with powerful multi-mode radar, better avionics and communications systems.

On August 15, Abhinandan Varthaman was conferred with the prestigious Vir Chakra award. Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award in India after the Param Vir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.