Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa today flew a sortie on a MiG-21 fighter aircraft with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was taken prisoner by Pakistan after being shot down during a rare dogfight between Indian and Pakistani fighter jets earlier this year.
The two officers took off from the Pathankot airbase in Punjab. This is the last time IAF chief BS Dhanoa flies a fighter jet before retiring at the end of the month.
Today's sortie marks the successful return to flying of Abhinandan, who was undergoing intense medical tests following his release from Pakistan. Abhinandan Varthaman was shot down on February 27 while responding to an offensive from the Pakistan Air Force.
The Pakistan Air Force attempted entering Indian airspace and targeting military infrastructure in response to the February 26 Balakot airstrike that saw the Indian Air Force enter Pakistan and bomb a terrorist facility located in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Watch Video Here:
Abhinandan was flying a MiG-21 Bison fighter during that dogfight and shot down after he took down a Pakistani F-16. Abhinandan ejected from his fighter jet after being shot and landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where he was taken, prisoner.
He was released two days later, a development that significantly cooled tensions between India and Pakistan, which had come close to the brink of armed conflict in the aftermath of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack (the Balakot airstrike was seen as a response to the terror attack).