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Friday, April 19, 2024

Abhinandan receives military award for “shooting down F-16”

Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman received the Vir Chakra award for showing bravery while supposedly shooting down a Pakistani F-16 during the Balakot Airstrike of 2019. Meanwhile, Twitteratis are recalling how Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan.

Monday, Indian Air Force pilot Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman received the Vir Chakra award by President Ram Nath Kovind. India presented the military award to Abhinandan for his bravery during the Balakot Airstrike of 2019.

According to Indian media, Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet during India’s Balakot’s airstrike, a claim rubbished by Pakistan.

“Indian media was saying that they shot down a Pakistani F-16. Firstly, Pakistan did not use F-16s in the entire action and there is no news that a Pakistan plane was downed,” Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the director-general (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said at the time.

In February 2019, India invaded Pakistan’s airspace. In self-defense, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) undertook strikes across the Line of Control from its airspace. As a result, it shot down two Indian aircraft inside the Pakistani airspace. One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K while the other fell inside IoK.

Due to his plane being shot down, Abhinandan who was the Wing Commander at the time was arrested by the Pakistani ground forces.

Read more: Tea is fantastic: DG ISI Faiz Hameed’s Kabul visit reminds India

Later, ISPR released a video in which Abhinandan acknowledged that Pakistani military officers treated him well. He also gave Pakistan the now infamous line “the tea was fantastic.”

Pakistan later freed Abhinandan on March 1 as a gesture of peace. However, Pakistan still remembers Abhinandan as the pilot who enjoyed Pakistan’s tea. His iconic line also created many hilarious memes.

Pakistanis recall a fond memory!

As news of Abhinandan receiving Vir Chakra award hit social media, Pakistani Twitteratis once again recalled how Pakistan captured Abhinandan.

The reason why Pakistanis poke fun at the incident is due to Indian media’s knack for blowing stories out of proportion. Abhinandan received the award for his bravery in the face of the enemy which he indeed showed. However, India continues to make false claims about the 2019 incident.

Important to note, the US, a close ally of India, also refuted the claims of India shooting down an F-16. According to sources, two U.S. defense officials with direct knowledge of the Balakot Airstrike said U.S. personnel had done a count of Pakistan’s F-16s and found none missing. However, to this day, India continues to reiterate that the IAF did indeed shoot down an F-16.




India, on several occasions, has spread false information regarding serious events. For example, it recently claimed that PAF attacked Panjshir. It made the claims while portraying a clip from a video game as actual footage.

Read more: Bangladesh & France against Indian media?