New Delhi: The government is likely to decorate Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman with top military honour for shooting down an F-16 with his MiG-21 Bison in an aerial dogfight with Pakistan on February 27.

Sources suggest that Varthaman may be awarded the Vir Charka for his feat. The five Mirage 2000 fighter pilots, who dropped bombs on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) camps in Balakot are set to receive the Vayu Sena Medal for their gallantry.

(Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award after the Param Vir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.)

The IAF pilot walked back into Indian territory on March 1, 2019, after he was captured by Pakistan two days after his MiG-21 Bison crashed into their territory while engaging in an aerial dogfight.

India had retaliated on February 26 to the Pulwama terror attack orchestrated by Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed by striking deep into Balakot with fighter jets and dismantling their camps.

This led to war-mongering on both sides of the border, leading to a dogfight between IAF and Pakistan Air Force fighter jets near the Line of Control on Wednesday (February 27).

35-year-old Abhinandan Varthaman was then captured on Wednesday (February 27) by Pakistan after his MiG-21 Bison was hit by Pakistan Air Force jets near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and it crashed in Pakistani territory.