Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman today flew a sortie on a MiG-21 fighter aircraft.
Abhinandan was taken prisoner by Pakistan after being shot down during a rare dogfight between Indian and Pakistani fighter.
The two officers took off from the Pathankot airbase in Punjab. This is the last time IAF chief BS Dhanoa flies a fighter jet before retiring at the end of the month.
Today’s sortie marks the successful return to flying of Abhinandan Varthman, who was undergoing intense medical tests following his release from Pakistan. The Pakistan Air Force shot down on Abhinandan Varthaman February 27 while responding to an offensive from .
Days after he returned from Pakistan, Varthaman conveyed to the IAF brass his wish to return to fighter cockpit at the earliest.
Politicians, strategic affairs experts, celebrities and others praised Varthaman for his courage and grace in handling the most difficult circumstances.
for his courage and grace in handling the most difficult circumstances.
The IAF pilot underwent a nearly two-week debriefing by security agencies following his return from Pakistan.
The IAF chief said he, too, ejected from a combat jet in 1988 and had to wait for nine months to return to the fighter cockpit.
Dhanoa said,”He (Varthaman) has got back his flying category in less than six months which is good,” adding it was perhaps his last sortie on a fighter jet before retirement.
As a young pilot, the Air Force chief flew the Mig 21 jet with Varthaman senior, Simhakutty Varthaman, who retired as air marshal.
The IAF pilot underwent a nearly two-week-long debriefing by security agencies following his return from Pakistan.
IAF fighter jets bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26, nearly two weeks after the Pulwama strike.