23 Facts About Abhinandan Varthaman


Gp Capt Abhinandan Varthaman VrC was born on 21 June 1983 and is an Indian Air Force fighter pilot who was held captive in Pakistan for 60 hours after his aircraft was shot down in an aerial dogfight.


Abhinandan Varthaman was awarded with Vir Chakra by the Indian government which claimed he had downed a PAF F-16 with his MiG-21 Bison, although this claim is disputed.


Pakistan released videos and images showing Varthaman being rescued from a violent mob of villagers by its soldiers, receiving first aid, and being questioned while blindfolded.


Abhinandan Varthaman was released from Pakistani captivity on what Pakistan said was humanitarian grounds, and returned to India through Wagah border crossing on 1 March 2019.


Abhinandan Varthaman was promoted to the rank of Group captain from the rank of Wing Commander in November, 2021.


Abhinandan Varthaman was born on 21 June 1983 in Tamil Jain Family.


Abhinandan Varthaman's father is a retired Indian Air Force Air Marshal and his mother is a doctor.

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Narendra Modi

Abhinandan Varthaman graduated from the National Defence Academy and was commissioned into the combat stream of the IAF as a flying officer on 19 June 2004.


Abhinandan Varthaman was trained at the IAF centres in Bathinda and Halwara, promoted to flight lieutenant on 19 June 2006, and to squadron leader on 8 July 2010.


Abhinandan Varthaman was a Su-30 MKI fighter pilot before being assigned to the MiG-21 Bison squadron.


Abhinandan Varthaman was promoted to wing commander on 19 June 2017.


Abhinandan Varthaman is married to a retired Squadron Leader and lives in Chennai.


Abhinandan Varthaman lost communications with the IAF command and inadvertently crossed into Pakistani airspace during a dogfight that ensued, during which his aircraft was struck by a missile.


Local villagers said Abhinandan Varthaman could be identified as an Indian pilot by the Indian flag on his parachute.


Videos and images released by Pakistani authorities showed Abhinandan Varthaman being rescued from a violent mob by Pakistani soldiers and being interrogated while tied and blindfolded with a bloody face.


The media received a mixed reception; some commentators criticised the reports as a "vulgar display" while others praised the intervention of the Pakistani soldiers when Abhinandan Varthaman was in the hands of the mob and was being beaten.


Later in October 2020, a senior opposition leader who was Speaker of the National Assembly during the PML-N government in Pakistan, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had claimed in the National Assembly that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a meeting of Pakistan's top leaders that India would attack Pakistan if Varthaman weren't released.


Abhinandan Varthaman crossed the India-Pakistan border at Wagah on 1 March 2019.


At a rally, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Abhinandan Varthaman's release, saying the nation was proud of him.


IAF later said it had been filmed while Abhinandan Varthaman was under duress.


Abhinandan Varthaman said the Pakistani authorities did not physically torture him but subjected him to considerable "mental harassment".


Akhil Bharatiya Digambar Jain Mahasamiti chairperson Manidra Jain announced Abhinandan Varthaman would be awarded the Bhagwan Mahavir Ahimsa Puraskar on 17 April 2019, the date of Mahavir Jayanti.


Dairy company Amul produced a video showing a young girl wearing an Abhinandan Varthaman-shaped milk moustache.