NEW DELHI Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who became the face of the tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan, has been shifted out of Srinagar and posted to a frontline air base in the western sector, official sources said Saturday.
It is also learnt that the IAF was going to recommend Varthaman’s name for Vir Chakra, the coveted wartime gallantry medal, which is the third highest after the Paramvir Chakra and the Mahavir Chakra.
Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan on February 27 during an aerial combat with Indian Air Force, had returned to his squadron in Srinagar last month though he was on a four-week sick leave.
Orders have been issued for his transfer from Srinagar to another base in the western sector, sources said, terming the transfer as “routine one”.
The IAF pilot went on leave in mid-March after security agencies completed a nearly two-week debriefing following his return from Pakistan.
Sources said a medical board will review his fitness to help the IAF top brass decide whether he can return to fighter cockpit as desired by him.
Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after India’s air strike in Balakot on February 26. Pakistan retaliated the next day.
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