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Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, an Indian Air Force pilot, became a national hero in 2019. He successfully shot down a Pakistani F-16 during a tense aerial skirmish before his own MiG-21 was downed. While heroically returned after his capture in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), questions remain about his story’s silence.

However, since his return, there has been a curious contrast in media access. While Abhinandan has been promoted to Group Captain and is allowed to fly again, he has not been granted permission to speak publicly about the events of that day.

Following his capture in PoK, Abhinandan’s swift return was a significant diplomatic victory for India. He was awarded the Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest wartime honor, for his bravery.

However, unlike Squadron Leader Minty Aggarwal, the woman fighter controller who played a crucial role in the operation, Abhinandan has not been granted permission to speak openly to the media. The reasons behind this remain unclear.

The public is eager to hear Abhinandan’s firsthand account of the events that transpired – the aerial engagement, his capture, and his return. His silence fuels speculation and hinders a complete understanding of the entire mission.

Several reasons might explain the restrictions on Abhinandan’s media interactions. Operational security concerns, the sensitivity of the situation, or even personal preference could be factors.

Perhaps someday, Abhinandan will choose to share his story. Until then, his actions during that pivotal day in 2019 remain a testament to his courage and skill, securing his place as a national hero.