Pakistan on Wednesday claimed to have captured two Indian pilots, and one of them has been identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, son of a retired IAF official, and had stayed with his parents in Shillong.
A Sukhoi 30 pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was commissioned in 2004 as a Flying Officer. He is the son of Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman, who served as the AOC-in-C of Eastern Air Command in Shillong from August 1, 2011 to November 30, 2012.
The video of Wing Commander Abhinandan, which has gone viral in the social media, showed the air-warrior boldly responding to the questions of the Pakistani defence personnel. Though blind folded and injured, the fighter pilot exhibited unique example of grit and confidence.
Though Wing Commander Abhinandan was already in service when his father was the AOC-in-C of the Eastern Air Command, a lot of IAF officials remembers him visiting his parents in Shillong during vacation. His father was also posted in IAF base at Tezpur.
It is natural for Wing Commander Abhinandan to be bold as he is the son a great fighter pilot Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman, an alumnus of the Sainik School at Amaravathinagar in Tamil Nadu and trained at the National Defence Academy.
His father had joined the IAF as a fighter pilot in 1973, and is among the few select pilots who hold the distinction of having flown 40 types of aircraft with over 4,000 flying hours to his credit.
Wing Commander Abhinandan’s father served as the chief test pilot of the elite Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE) of IAF in Bangalore, and chief flying instructor at fighter training wing in Andhra Pradesh.
While the IAF used Mirage 2000 fighters on Tuesday morning to destroy the terror camps in POK, Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman had played an important role in up gradation of the Mirage-2000 aircraft while serving in the IAF base in Gwalior.
Wing Commander Abhinandan’s father is the recipient of the presidential awards of Athi Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM), Vayu Sena Medal (VM) and Vishist Seva Medal (VSM). His father also head of a high-powered panel to examine different aspects of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project.
As head of the high-powered panel, Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman had said that India should co-develop and co-produce the stealth fighter with Russia.