Indian Air Force fighter pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was promoted to the rank of Group Captain. Abhinandan Varthaman was involved in a dog fight with a Pakistani fighter plane. He was also awarded a Shaurya Chakra for taking down an F-16 combat aircraft during the engagement.
People familiar with the developments told news agency ANI that the officer was cleared for promotion to the rank of Group Captain by the IAF and Abhinandan Varthaman will be putting on his new rank shortly. The Group Captain designation is equivalent to a colonel in the Indian Army .
Abhinandan’s MiG-21 fighter aircraft was shot down by enemy forces after he shot down the F-16 and landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the Pakistan Army took him into custody. After extensive pressure was exerted by the India side along with international intervention, the Pakistan Army released him.
Abhinandan was part of the Srinagar-based 51 squadron and flew in to thwart an aerial attack launched by the Pakistanis on February 27, 2019.