New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria will confer unit citation to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s 51 Squadron for preventing the aerial attack by Pakistan and shooting down a Pakistani F-16 jet on February 27. The award will be accepted by commanding officer group Captain Satish Pawar on October 8.
Besides Number 9 Squadron whose fighter jet carried out Balakot airstrike and Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal’s 601 Signal Unit will also be awarded. The three units will be given the honor for conducting an airstrike at the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist base in Balakot on 26 February and foiling the attack on Pakistani fighter jets on 27 February.
During Pakistan’s counter-attack on India in reply to the Balakot airstrike, Abhinandan Varthaman flew a MiG-21 Bison fighter jet into Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). He was grounded due to ejection from his MiG-21 which was shot down in the aerial battle with Pakistan Air Force F-16s.
Abhinandan Varthaman was released by the Pakistani government after pressure was exercised by India and the world community. He was also bestowed with the third-highest wartime gallantry award, Vir Chakra on the 73rd Independence Day.
Number 9 Squadron whose fighter jet carried out Balakot airstrike will also be awarded: The number 9 Squadron, whose Mirage 2000 fighter jet carried out the airstrike in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26 during ‘Operation Bandar’, will also be awarded citation.
Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal’s 601 Signal Unit will be awarded unit citation: Along with the units which carried out Balakot strike and prevented Pakistani aerial attack, Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal’s 601 Signal Unit will be awarded unit citation for their role in the same.
Minty Agarwal, who assumed the responsibility of a fighter controller during the infiltration of Pakistani aircraft into Kashmir, was awarded the War Service Medal. This time Minty was the only woman to receive the Bravery Award.