Abhinandan, 5 Balakot pilots awarded

NEW DELHI, Aug 14:  Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who downed an enemy jet in an aerial combat with Pakistan in February and was held captive for three days, has been conferred the Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest war time gallantry medal.
At least five IAF pilots who were part of the mission to strike a Jaish-e-Mohammad camp inside Pakistan, and Minty Agarwal, a lady officer who played a key role as flight controller during the Pakistani retaliation, were also among the military awardees.
The Defence Ministry announced the military awards on the eve of Independence Day celebrations.
From the Army, Sapper Prakash Jadhav of the Rashtriya Rifles will be posthumously awarded Kirti Chakra, the second highest peacetime gallantry award.
Agarwal, who played a key role as a ground staff during the dog-fight between India and Pakistan on February 27, has been awarded Yudh Seva medal.
The IAF received a total of 13 awards including five Yudh Seva Medals and seven Vayu Sena Medal.
The Vayu Sena medal award winners are Group Captain Saumitra Tamaskar, Wing Commander Pranav Raj, Wing Commander Amit Ranjan, Sq Ldr Rahul Basoya, Sq Ldr Pankaj Arvind Bhujade, Sq Ldr B Karthik Narayan Reddy and Sq Ldr Shashank Singh.
Besides Agarwal, the Yudh Sena medal winners are Air Commodore Sunil Kashinath Vidhate, Group Captain Yeshpal Singh Negi, Goup Captain Hemant Kumar and Group Captain Hansel Joseph Seqeira. (PTI)