Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s Heroic Journey

Abhinandan Varthaman

Who is Abhinandan Varthaman?

Abhinandan Varthaman is the wing commander of the Indian Air Force (IAF). He is from Thirupanamoor, a small village in Tamil Nadu. Abhinandan Varthaman was born on June 21, 1983, in a Tamil Jain Family. He completed his schooling in Chennai at Sainik Welfare School, Amaravathinagar. He graduated from the National Defence Academy. 

In June 2004, Abhinandan Varthaman was commissioned as a flying officer in the IAF’s combat branch. After completing his training at the IAF in Bathinda and Halwara, he was promoted to flight lieutenant in 2006 and squadron leader in 2010. He was a Su-30 MHI fighter pilot before being posted to the MiG-21 Bison Squadron. He was also promoted to wing commander on 19 June 2017 and to group captain of the IAF  in November 2021.

Abhinandan Varthaman comes from a family with a history of service in the Indian Air Force (IAF). His father, Simhakutty Varthaman, is a retired Air Marshal, his wife, Tanvi Marwaha, is a former Squadron Leader and his mother Abhinandan’s mother is a doctor. 

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s Heroic Journey

When there was a terrible attack in Pulwama on February 14, relations between India and Pakistan got very bad. 40 Indian soldiers were killed by a Pakistani terrorist group called “Jaish-e-Mohammed”. As a reaction, India’s Air Force attacked a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Balakot, Pakistan.

On February 27, 2019, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was shot down by a Pakistan Air Force jet while going up against it. However, he did shoot down a Pakistani F-16 jet in the process.

The Pakistani F-16 was shot down by an R-73 missile fired by Abhinandan Varthaman, who then had an AMRAAM missile hit his Mig 21 Bison. He did, however, manage to get out of his damaged plane and land in Pakistan, where he was caught by Pakistani forces.

The next day, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan declared that Pakistan was going to release, which Pakistan did. On March 1, 2019, Abhinandan Varthaman crossed the border between India and Pakistan at Wagah. Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, said at a rally that the country was glad of Varthaman’s release.

At this point, Abhinandan Varthaman became popular. Pictures of him being handcuffed and hooded by the Pakistani army showed up in the news and on social media. Pakistanis asked him questions, and he answered them without fear in one of the videos.

His achievement in bringing down a Pakistani F-16 will earn him the Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest war medal, on August 15, 2019.