New Delhi: An Indian Sukhoi Su-30MKI that delighted spectators at an air show outside Delhi on Tuesday would have caused considerable embarrassment to Pakistan, which had claimed to have shot down the fighter jet during an aerial dogfight in February this year.
The Russian-made warplane was in the ‘Avenger’ formation in the skies above the Hindon Air Base near Ghaziabad as part of a celebration marking the 87th foundation day of the Indian Air Force. The fighter jet was even piloted by the same “shot down” crew, the NDTV reported.
Pakistan had earlier this year claimed that it shot the Sukhoi-30 from the sky in a brief air battle on February 27, a day after the Indian Air Force had bombed a terrorist camp in Balakot inside Pakistan.
In the dogfight, the IAF had said it had shot down an American-made F-16 and firmly denied that one of its Su-30s were destroyed. It had accused Pakistan of making up the story to cover for the loss of its jet, which was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
Varthaman, who was awarded the Vir Chakra, made his comeback on Tuesday as he led the formation of Mig-21 Bison fighter jets during a flypast at the air base.
Two squadrons of the Indian Air Force, which played a role in the Balakot air strike, were also decorated with citations on the 87th IAF Day. IAF chief RKS Bhadauria decorated the 51 Squadron and the 9 Squadron for their role in the air strike on terrorist camps in Pakistan's Balakot in February.
Every year, the Air Force Day is celebrated at Hindon base in presence of the IAF chief and senior officials of the three armed forces. The IAF was founded on October 8, 1932, and the force has participated in several crucial wars and landmark missions.