Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan after downing their F-16 fighter jet on February 27, has been posted at Rajasthan’s Suratgarh air base. According to a report in Times of India, the IAF pilot took over his duties at the base on Saturday itself. However, the Indian Air Force has not officially confirmed Abhinandan’s Suratgarh posting. The TOI report quoted an IAF official as saying that, “defence posting are confidential. We can only confirm that Wing Commander Abhinandan has been posted in Rajasthan.” This is not the first time that the IAF pilot has got Rajasthan posting. Prior to Suratgarh stint, the Wing Commander was posted at Bikaner base. The officer quoted by the TOI also added that the Suratgarh fight base has MiG-21 combat aircraft, however, it is still not clear whether Abhinanadn will fly it or not.
Earlier this month, a video of IAF Wing Commander in which he can be seen interacting with his colleagues in Jammu and Kashmir had gone viral. In the video, Abhinandan was seen smiling and posing for selfies with IAF personnel, Garud special forces jawans and Defence Security Corps personnel (DSC). He was also heard saying that all photographs being taken of him are for the families of the jawans who prayed for his wellbeing.
Last month, the Indian Air Force transferred Abhinandan Varthaman out of the Srinagar airbase amid concerns over his security. He has now been posted to an important airbase in the Western sector. “The posting order of the officer has been issued and he would soon be moving out of the Srinagar airbase to his new place of posting,” ANI quoted government sources as saying.
On Saturday, in an exclusive interview to News Nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time had revealed what happened after Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistani forces during a dogfight on February 27. While speaking with News Nation’s Deepak Chaurasia and Peenaz Tyagi, in an exclusive interview, Modi said India had asked Pakistan officials not to harm Abhinandan, or “else it will ruin everything”.
“First, I got to know about airspace violation, Then I got know about Abhinandan. We had told them (Pakistan officials) very clearly. Don’t touch Abhinandan, else it will ruin everything,” Modi said in the interview.
Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani Army after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat. Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. Varthaman was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan.After he was captured, Varthaman showed courage and grace in handling the most difficult circumstances for which he was praised by politicians, strategic affairs experts, ex-servicemen, celebrities and people in general.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.
Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations the next day. However, the IAF thwarted their plans. The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.