Cricket legend and honorary Group Captain Sachin Tendulkar lavished praise on Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Tuesday who led the formation of Indian Air Force’s MiG-21 Bison fighter jets during the Air Force Day parade at the Hindon Air Base in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad. Sachin, who was conferred with the Group Captain rank in September 2010, attended the celebrations where Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria was also present.
Sachin took to Twitter to upload a video of the fly past and his post read: “Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman leading the flying parade in the MiG-21 Bison at the 87th Anniversary of the @IAF_MCC ! His spirit and courage is an inspiration to all of us. Had goosebumps seeing him lead the parade today.”
IAF pilots who took part in the force’s Balakot airstrikes were a part of the parade as a mark of tribute to teams which carried out the strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)’s terror camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on February 26 and thwarted the Pakistani aerial attack on February 27.
The 36-year-old Abhinandan Varthman was captured by Pakistan’s army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat.
Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. Abhinandan was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan.
The action followed a suicide bombing claimed by the terror group that killed 40 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14.