New Delhi, May 27: On the 20th anniversary of the Kargil war, Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Monday paid tribute to Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja who was killed in action during the operation Safed Sagar in the Kargil war of 1999. The IAF Chief led the 'Missing Man' formation flypast of MiG-21 aircraft from the Bhisiana IAF station in Punjab. Air Marshal R Nambiar, also took part in the tribute. Ahuja's wife Alka and his son Ankur are expected to be present during the flypast. Kargil Vijay Diwas: All You Need to Know About the Importance of This Historic Day. 

Dhanoa flew the MiG-21 aircraft and led the 'missing man' formation at Bhatinda to honour Ahuja whose plane was shot down during the war. The IAF Chief was commanding the 17 Squadron based in Srinagar and Squadron Leader Ahuja was his Flight Commander.

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What is Missing Man Formation:

The missing man formation is an aerial salute performed as part of a flypast of aircraft at a funeral or memorial event, typically in memory of a fallen pilot. It is usually done to pay tribute to the martyrs of IAF who lost their lives in action.

Ahuja was awarded Vir Chakra posthumously for his gallantry during the Kargil conflict in 1999. The formation flying was carried out at the Air Force Station in Bathinda, which was the home base of the 17 Squadron before it was forward located to Srinagar.

It was on May 27, 1999, when Ahuja was shot dead by Pakistani soldiers after he had ejected over the Batalik sector along the Line of Control, 200 km north-east of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir. He had parachuted on the ground but was tortured to death by Pakistani troops.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 27, 2019 10:26 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website