The Vir Chakra is the country's third India’s third highest wartime gallantry award

Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman, who shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft in February 2019, was accorded the Vir Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday.

Abhinandan Varthaman was a Wing Commander when he shot down the Pakistani aircraft during a dogfight over the Line of Control (LoC).

He was part of the Srinagar-based 51 squadron and had flown to thwart an aerial attack launched by the Pakistanis a day after the Balakot airstrikes on February 27, 2019.

The Vir Chakra is the country's third India’s third highest wartime gallantry award after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra.

President Kovind presented the Gallantry Awards and Distinguished Service Decorations at the Defence Investiture Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

President Kovind, who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, conferred two Kirti Chakras, including one posthumous, one Vir Chakra and 10 Shaurya Chakras, including two posthumous, to the personnel of Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces, at the first part of the defence investiture ceremony.

He presented the Kirti Chakra to Sapper Prakash Jadhav (posthumously) for displaying exemplary courage in eliminating a terrorist in Jammu & Kashmir.

Deputy Commandant CRPF Harshpal Yadav was also honoured with the Kirti Chakra.

President Kovind conferred the Shaurya Chakra posthumously on Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal and Naib Subedar Sombir.

Naib Subedar Sombir was among the army men who died while fighting terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir in February 2019. His wife and mother received the award.

Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal was accorded with honour (posthumously) for exhibiting unparalleled valour operations resulting in the elimination of 5 terrorists & recovery of 200 kg of explosives.

The other recipients of the Shaurya Chakra award included:

* Colonel Ajay Singh Kushwah, Sena Medal, the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, 3rd Battalion the Rashtriya Rifles
* Major Mahesh Kumar Bhure, The Corps of Engineers, 34th Battalion Rashtriya Rifles
* Major Konjengbam Bijendra Singh, the Army Air Defence, 23rd Battalion the Assam Rifles
* Naik Naresh Kumar, the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, 42ND Battalion the Rashtriya Rifles
* Lieutenant Colonel Jyoti Lama, 11TH Battalion the Gorkha Rifles, 37th Battalion the Assam Rifles
* Naib Subedar Narendra Singh, 9th Battalion the Parachute Regiment (Special Forces)
* Havildar Alok Kumar Dubey, The Rajput Regiment, 44TH Battalion the Rashtriya Rifles
* Amit Singh Rana, LME, 231243-B

The President also conferred 13 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, two Uttam Yudh Seva Medals and 24 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals for distinguished service of exceptional order.