The Mi-17 helicopter pilots who were shot down in friendly fire in Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir last year have been conferred gallantry awards posthumously on Sunday at the 71st Republic Day event.
Squadron Leader Ninad Anil Mandavgane (Posthumous) and Squadron Leader Siddharth Vashisht (Posthumous) were awarded the Vayu Sena Medal (gallantry) at the event.
Last year, after the Pulwama attack that created a tensed situation between India and Pakistan, on February 27, 2019, in an aerial dogfight between the two countries, a Mi-17 helicopter crashed that resulted in the death of six personnel.
The other four personnel who were killed in the incident were accorded the status of ‘Mention-In-Despatches’ which is also a recognition for gallantry.
Sergeant Vikrant Sahrawat, Sergeant Vishal Kumar Pandey, Corporal Pankaj Kumar and Corporal Deepak Pandey have their names figured as Mention-in-Despatches, Posthumously.
Last year after an attack on the CRPF convoy in which around 40 personnel were killed in Pulwama, the Indian Air Force had launched an aerial strike on the terror camp in Balakot, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Following the strike, Pakistan retaliated resulting in an aerial dogfight between the two countries. While chasing down an F16 aircraft that entered into the Indian territory, Mi-17 helicopter met casualty.
The IAF in its court of inquiry had established lapses and mistakes by officials. It was established that the Mi-17 helicopter was hit by IAF missile out of confusion.
Those killed have been considered battle causalities.