AIR Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa on Friday credited the national leadership for getting back Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in record time after his capture by Pakistan during military confrontation in February.
He also said the Indian Air Force (IAF) is ready for any military confrontation with Pakistan, but a decision about this has to be taken by the political leadership.
B S Dhanoa, Abhinandan
The 36-year-old IAF pilot Abhinandan was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat, a day after the air-strikes on terror camps at Balakot deep inside the neighbouring country.
Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. Abhinandan was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan. Speaking at the ‘India Today’ conclave here, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said he knew Abhinandan since he was a child as he has worked with his father, who was an IAF veteran.
“In Kargil, we lost Flight Commander Ajay Ahuja. He ejected (from his jet) but after he landed (across the border in Pakistan) he was shot... That was playing in my mind,” the IAF chief said.