New Delhi, December 11: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who had shot down a Pakistani F-16 near the Line of Control (LoC) in February this year, has topped the list of personalities in the Google's 2019 Year In Search in India, a look at the top trending searches of 2019. In the category of most trending personalities in the year 2019 in India, Abhinandan tops the list, followed by Lata Mangeshkar, Yuvraj Singh, Anand Kumar, Vicky Kaushal, Rishabh Pant, Ranu Mondal among others.
For his act of bravery, Abhinandan has been awarded Vir Chakra on Independence Day this year. The Vir Chakra award is the third highest military honour in India. On February 27, Abhinandan's jet was grounded and he had to keep himself away from flying his fighter jet for six months.
Abhinandan was captured after his MiG 21 was shot down by Pakistani forces when he went chasing after a Pakistani jet in the aftermath of the Balakot air strike. The Wing Commander was questioned by Pakistani security agencies and was released to India around 60 hours later at the Wagah border. On his return to India on March 1, Varthaman, the son of a former high-ranking IAF official, underwent tests in Delhi and was subsequently posted out of Jammu and Kashmir as part of service policy as well as security reasons.
India had carried out bombings in Balakot in retaliation of a terror strike in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed.