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Another award for abhinandan: india makes mockery of gallantry awards: Pakistan

“Pakistan categorically rejects the entirely baseless Indian claims that a Pakistani F-16 aircraft was shot down by an Indian pilot before he was captured by Pakistan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in February 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said that India was making mockery of gallantry awards by giving such awards to Abhinandan who surrendered to Pakistani security officials when his MiG-21 was shot down in Pakistani territory.

In a statement today, Pakistani foreign office spokesperson termed the gallantry award conferred on Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman — who was captured by Pakistan in 2019 and later returned to India — a “classic case of Indian fabrication and pure fantasy” aimed at appeasing domestic audience.

Foreign office said Abhinandan was given the Vir Chakra medal by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind just to “hide India’s embarrassment”.

Vir Chakra is India’s third-highest wartime gallantry award after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Chakra.

Abhinandan, who was recently promoted from wing commander to group captain, was awarded the medal for “showing conspicuous courage” while shooting down a Pakistani F-16 aircraft in February 2019 — a claim that has been rubbished by the Pakistan military, independent observers as well as the international media.

The claim was refuted again by the Foreign Office in its statement today. “Pakistan categorically rejects the entirely baseless Indian claims that a Pakistani F-16 aircraft was shot down by an Indian pilot before he was captured by Pakistan in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in February 2019,” it read.

The statement noted that international experts as well as United States officials had already determined that no Pakistani F-16 aircraft was shot down on the day concerned after taking stock of the country’s F-16 aircrafts.

“India’s insistence on propagating a lie that has been thoroughly exposed is ludicrous and nonsensical. Granting military honours for imaginary feats of gallantry is contrary to every norm of military conduct. By giving such award, also as an afterthought, India has only made a mockery of itself,” the statement added.

Recalling the events of Feb 27, 2019, the FO said two Indian aircraft were shot down — a MiG 21 Bison aircraft that fell down in AJK and a SU 30 aircraft that fell on the other side of the Line of Control (LoC). The pilot who ejected from the aircraft in AJK — Abhinandan — was captured by Pakistan and later handed over as a goodwill gesture.

In addition, the Indian Air Force in a “state of panic” shot down its own Mi-17 helicopter on the same day which it denied initially but accepted later, the FO recalled.

“Indian Air Force was completely outplayed on the day. It is obvious that India’s farcical story has no credibility whatsoever before the international community,” the statement said.

“Pakistan stands as ready and resolute to thwart any hostile designs as it was in February 2019. India would do well to learn a lesson from its botched attempt to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and refrain from any misadventure in future,” the FO warned.

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