Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Tuesday led the formation of MiG-21 Bison fighter jets during the Air Force Day parade at the Hindon Air Base in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad.
Abhinandan led a group of three MiG-21s flying in avenger formation.
Chief of the Indian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, was the chief guest at the 87th Air Force Day celebrations.
Abhinandan’s aerial manoeuvre was greeted with huge cheers from the crowds gathered at the Hindon Air Base.
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 had shot down Pakistani F-16 fighter. Abhinandan was later released by Pakistan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his wishes in a tweet this morning: “Today, on Air Force Day, a proud nation expresses gratitude to our air warriors and their families. The Indian Air Force continues to serve India with utmost dedication and excellence.”
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also gave her wishes to IAF on their 87th anniversary.
“Sincere and heart-felt greetings to the @IAF_MCC on their 87th anniversary. Your recent successful operation in Balakot overwhelmed all Indians. Professionalism, great leadership, and excellence are your hallmark. Wishing you every success in the future too,” Sitharaman tweeted.