Hyderabad: Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal who was the first to detect Pakistani aircraft heading towards India after the Balakot air strikes was awarded the Yudh Seva medal on Wednesday.
Squadron Leader Agarwal was the flight controller when Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman downed the enemy F16 in aerial combat with Pakistan in February. “The officer was controlling the IAF’s interception package tasked to tackle intruding Pakistan jets on February 27, a day after the Balakot air strike,” said an IAF statement.
“I was controlling and vectoring multiple aircraft at the same frequency, including that of Wing Commander Abhinandhan Varthaman. When I the spotted Pakistani aircraft I alerted the authorities,” the officer said.
“This is my job, we are trained to act in this manner,” she said in a matter of fact manner, when asked about her performance in those tense moments as enemy aircraft were heading towards the country.
Explaining the ground fighter commanders, Wing Commander T.J. Reddy (retired), said, “Minty Agarwal was controlling Wing Commander Abhinandan from the ground radar and vectored him to the Pakistan F-16 till he made his own contact in the air. That was a very crucial part of ground controlled interception carried by a fighter controller.”...