Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer, is likely to be awarded the Vir Chakra for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 during a dogfight over the Line of Control (LoC) on 27 February, after tensions rose between the two neighbours over the Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February.
The Vir Chakra is the third highest wartime gallantry award. In addition to Varthaman, the five pilots of the Mirage-2000 fighter jets, who dropped bombs on the camps of the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Pakistan's Balakot, will also be awarded the Vayu Sena medal for gallantry, News18 reported.
The report also said that Abhinandan, who was sent back to India around three days after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down and he was captured by Pakistani security forces, is still in recovery from the operation and is likely to undergo tests in the coming months for clearance to rejoin services.
The fighter pilot was hailed for maintaining his composure when a video of him in captivity was released by Pakistan. He was praised by "politicians, strategic affairs experts, celebrities and the general public", the report said.
"Abhinandan, then 35, scripted military aviation history by downing an F-16, seconds before his own MiG-21 Bison was hit by a missile forcing him to eject. Experts hailed it as the first-ever kill of an F-16 by a MiG-21 Bison, fighter jets of two different generations," Hindustan Times reported.
The dogfight during which Abhinandan was captured, occurred a day after the IAF struck targets in Balakot as a response to the Pulwama terrorist attack which resulted in the deaths of at least 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel on 14 February.
With inputs from agencies
Misbah, speaking for the first time since Pakistan arrived in South Africa, said he looked forward to three one-day internationals and four Twenty20 internationals, which will be shared between the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg and SuperSport Park in Centurion in order to adhere to Covid-19 protocols.
The resumption of import of these goods will lead to a partial revival of bilateral trade relations, which were suspended on 5 August, 2019, following India's decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir
After reviewing footage of the incident, match officials are believed to have come to the conclusion that de Kock was not in breach of the law on fielders deceiving batsmen.