Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday to confer the country’s highest military honour Param Vir Chakra to Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Varthaman, was captured by the Pakistan Army on February 27, after his MiG-21 bison was shot down as he engaged the Pakistan Air Force intruders in a dogfight.
“I request the Government of India to confer the nation’s highest military honour, Param Vir Chakra, on Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman,” the Chief Minister wrote in his letter, according to news agency PTI.
In his letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Palaniswami said, “Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman displayed amazing poise and confidence in the face of adverse conditions, which has won him many hearts across the country. It is appropriate that he be awarded India’s highest military honour Param Vir Chakra (PVC) for displaying most inimitable gallantry and valour,” news agency PTI quoted the Chief Minister as saying.
He also noted that Varthaman was released by Pakistan “due to the diplomatic initiatives” of Modi and “intense international pressure”.
The Wing Commander who was released 60 hours later by Pakistani authorities as a ‘gesture of peace’ was treated to a grand welcome at Attari-Wagah border. He was escorted to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment and underwent a series of medical tests.
Abhinandan was commissioned as a fighter pilot on June 19, 2004. It is learnt that he had recently completed his training at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Tamil Nadu.
The IAF Wing Commander, who was lauded for his efforts in carrying out the air strike in Pakistan, became the first recipient of the ‘Bhagwan Mahavir Ahimsa Puraskar’ instituted by the Akhil Bharatiya Digambar Jain Mahasamiti, a functionary of the organisation had informed on Sunday.