Who is Abhinandan Varthaman & Why Is He Being Awarded The Gallantry Award 2021?

Gallantry Awards 2021: Know About Abhinandan Varthaman, the IAF Officer who spent 60 hours as a captive in Pakistan and came back to India. Get to know about his life, his career and how he rose to fame below.
Created On: Nov 22, 2021 15:19 IST
Modified On: Nov 22, 2021 15:27 IST
Abhinandan Varthaman
Abhinandan Varthaman

Abhinandan Varthaman, the wing commander of Indian Air Force (IAF) now the Group Captain has been accorded with Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind at Gallantry Awards 2021. 

He is the same IAF Pilot who was held captive for 60 hours by Pakistan Army and Government and freed as per the Vienna Convention by the Indian Government. Know all about his life, his career, the incident that made him famous and much more in his biography shared below. 


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Why is Abhinandan Varthaman Getting Gallantry Award 2021?

Abhinav Varthaman was the wing commander in 2019. At that time tensions between India and Pakistan had escalated at the border due to the Pulwama terror attack. In this attack, 40 CRPF Jawans had died on February 14. Jaish-e-Mohammed then claimed responsibility for this attack. IAF then carried out an airstrike on the Jaish camps run in Balakot. It was on February 27, 2019, when Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was shot down during a dodge fight between the Pakistan Airforce and IAF. He also shot down a Pakistan F-16 in the process. Abhinandan fired an R-73 missile to take out the Pakistan F-16 before they shot down his  Mig Bison with an AMRAAM missile. He was captured by the Pakistani Airforce once he landed. 

Abhinandan captured

He was handed over to India at the Attari Wagah border after pressure from the international community rose to release him on account of the Vienna Convention. 

On March 1, 2019, he was released by the Pakistan Government. That’s when people go to know him and he rose to fame. His photographs with blindfolds on and handcuffed in Pakistan surfaced on social media and many news channels along with the videos showing his fearless attitude answering the Pakistani army's questions. He was conferred the Vir Chakra by the Govt of India which is India's third-highest wartime medal in 2019. 

Abhinandan Varthaman: Birth, Career, Wife, Family

  1. Abhinandan belongs to a village in Tamil Nadu named Thirupanamoor. 
  2. He was born on June 21, 1983, and completed his studies at the Sainik Welfare School in Chennai. After that, he qualified for NDA and graduated from there. 
  3. He was trained in the IAF centres of Bathinda and Halwara 
  4. His father Simhakutty Varthaman is the retired Air Marshal of the Indian Air Force and his mother Shobha was a doctor. 
  5. His wife, Tanvi Marwaha had also served as the Indian Air Force Squadron Leader and after 15 years of service took retirement from the position of a helicopter pilot. She is now working as a DGM at Reliance Jio in Bengaluru. 
  6. He was first appointed as a pilot in 2004 and after 15 years of service, he was promoted as a wing commander. 
  7. He is the only pilot to destroy an advanced PAK F-16 fighter with an IAF MiG21.
  8. Abhinandan's gets his salary according to the 6th CPC. An Indian Air Force Wing Commander receives a salary as per the Payment Band of INR 37400 – 67000 per month.
  9. Abhinandan has two children. 

Abhinandan Family

Abhinandan Varthaman is one of the few soldiers who has returned alive from Pakistan after being held as a prisoner of war. India is very proud of such soldiers who risk their lives for their country. 

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