New Delhi: Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be conferred with the prestigious Vir Chakra award on Independence Day, i.e, August 15, stated a news agency ANI. Vir Chakra is the third highest gallantry award in India after the Param Vir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.

The IAF pilot became a face of unflinching courage in the wake of his capture by Pakistan in February. Besides, he was one of the several fighters who intercepted the approaching Pakistani fighters. His actions made him a national hero in India.

Notably, Varthaman is credited for shooting down an intruding F-16, a claim vehemently refuted by Pakistan. The IAF, nonetheless, had recommended him for the Vir Chakra gallantry award.

The 36-year-old was flying a MiG-21 Bison which was shot down by a group of F-16s of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), over Jammu’s Nowshera on February 27. Pakistan’s attack came as a retaliation to the IAF’s strikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26. India had dismantled the Pakistani camps as a retaliation to the Pulwama terror attack orchestrated by Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed on February 14.