The 51 Squadron to which Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman belonged to will be awarded a unit citation by Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, news agency ANI reported. The Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot shot down an advanced American-made F-16 before his own legacy MiG-21 Bison fell to enemy fire in February, in the air battle that took place after Indian jets bombed a camp of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan's Balakot.
The Commanding Officer Group Captain Satish Pawar will take the award on 51 Squadron's behalf, ANI reported.
The 9 Squadron whose French-origin Mirage 2000 fighter jets dropped laser-guided bombs on the Jaish camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26 will also be awarded a unit citation.
Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal's 601 Signal Unit will get a citation for thwarting an approaching air strike by Pakistani jets on February 27, ANI reported.
Wing Commander Varthaman was captured by Pakistani forces on February 27 and released days later. After healing from injuries, he returned to the cockpit in less than six months. The Air Force's Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Bengaluru gave the go-ahead to him to fly again after a thorough medical evaluation.
India bombed the Jaish camp in Balakot in response to a terror attack in which a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb near a convoy of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, killing 40 soldiers.
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