NEW DELHI: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of the Indian Air Force, who shot down a Pakistan F-16 fighter jet during an aerial fight with Pakistan, will be conferred Vir Chakra on Independence Day.
Sapper Prakash Jadhav who was martyred in Kulgam in November during an encounter with terrorists and CRPF Dy Comdt Harshpal Singh would be conferred Kirti Chakras - the second-highest peacetime gallantry award.
Fourteen other personnel of the Indian Armed Forces would be conferred the Shaurya Chakra.
The Vir Chakra is the third highest wartime military award in India.
On February 14, an explosives-laden truck rammed into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama outside Srinagar, killing 40 soldiers in one of the biggest terror attacks in recent years.
The convoy comprised 78 buses in which around 2500 personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar.
Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was caused by a suicide bomber.
On February 26, Indian Air Force (IAF) had attacked terror camps in Balakot area in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The airstrikes come 12 days after the dreaded terror outfit-Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) carried out a debilitating attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14.
A day later, Pakistan fighter jets violated Indian airspace and the aerial fight ensued.
Abhinandan had strayed into Pakistan territory after shooting down the F-16 during a dogfight that had taken place on February 27. His own aircraft, a MiG-21 Bison, had been hit by a missile forcing him to eject from the fighter jet before it crashlanded in Pakistan.
Pakistani security forces had captured Abhinandan but released him on March 1st to India at the Wagah border.