Hyderabad: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, a MiG-21 Bison jet pilot currently in the custody of the Pakistan Army, passed out of the Hakimpet IAF training centre in 2003.
He is the son of Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman (retired). The pilot opted for fighter pilot training after completion of stage 1 and 2 training at Dundigal and Hakimpet-Hyderabad respectively.
Squadron Leader Varthaman (service number 27891), said to be an avid reader and outstanding speaker, was commissioned into the IAF in 2004. He was trained at the IAF centres of Bathinda and Halwara. A senior retired IAF officer who knows the Varthaman family well, told Deccan Chronicle: “Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman was my junior. He was Assistant Chief of the Air Staff-Intelligence before he was promoted to the rank of Air Marshal. He and his wife live in Chennai while the son, Abhinandan, lives in Jodhpur. When Senior Varthaman was promoted to Air Marshal he was made in-charge of the Eastern Air Command.”
He said, “We identified Abhinandan Varthaman the moment the Pakistani military released the video. We saw him wounded and blindfolded. At around 12.30 pm, we knew that Junior Varthaman was in their custody.”...