2019 Pulwama Counter Op Martyr Maj Vibhuti Gets Shaurya; Wife Lt. Nitika Collects It

By: TNI Team
Updated: November 22, 2021 17:29

NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind awarded Shaurya Chakra (Posthumous) to late Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundial and Vir Chakra Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman.

Major Dhoundial was awarded for his role in an operation in Jammu and Kashmir in which five terrorists were killed and 200 kg of explosives were recovered. His wife, Lt. Nikita Kaul, and mother received the award. Also Read: Blast Near Pathankot Army Camp, Probe On

It was a touching moment when Lt. Nikita Kaul stepped forward to receive the award (posthumously) for her husband. The couple had been married for only nine months when the news of his sacrifice in an operation against JeM broke. The adversity only made Lt Kaul stronger. Drawing strength and motivation from her late husband, 27 months later, this Kashmiri woman cleared the Short Service Commission (SSC) exam and interview and officially joined the Indian Army as an officer in the presence of Lt. Gen. Joshi, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Udhampur-based Northern Command.

The award ceremony commemorated Major Dhoundial’s service to the nation. During Major Dhoundial’s service in 55 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), he led many successful operations in Pulwama. On February 17, 2019, the security forces received an input from an intelligence source that the terrorists responsible for the Pulwama attack on 14 February 2019 were hiding in Pinglan Village.

The team led by Major Dhoundial under the supervision of Brigadier Harbir Singh launched a search and destroy operation. When the team found the terrorist hideout, they opened fire. The operation continued for almost 20 hours. Five JeM terrorists were neutralised in the operation.

Wing Commander (now Group Captain) received Vir Chakra for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft during aerial combat on February 27, 2019.

Indian Air Force ace pilot Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft by his MiG-21. In the aerial combat a day after Balakot airstrike he flew over PoK and his MiG-21 was hit. He had to eject over the territory controlled by Pakistan. He was taken in custody but he did not show a sign of fear. He displayed calmness in an enemy land, stoicism, poise and fortitude during a life and death situation. He was released soon due to extensive pressure by Narendra Modi’s Government, international interventions in the matter and Geneva Convention.  India launched an aerial strike on Balakot, a JeM outpost on 26 February 2019.

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