The Indian Air Force has approved the rank of Group Captain for Wing CommanderÂ Abhinandan Varthaman.
The rank has been approved and he will get it once a laid down procedure is completed, they said.
Explaining the process, they said any official after getting a new rank, is able to wear it once there is a vacancy for the position.
Varthaman downed a Pakistani jet on February 27, 2019 when the neighbouring country launched retaliation against India for the Balakot airstrikes a day before.
The strike by India’s warplanes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot and the Pakistani Air Force’s subsequent retaliation the next day triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
The most visible face of the confrontation was Wing Commander Varthaman whose capture by Pakistan after downing his MiG-21 fighter triggered the most serious military crisis between the two neighbours in decades.
Before his jet was hit, Varthaman downed the F-16 fighter of Pakistan. Varthaman was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan.
He had suffered injuries while ejecting from his MiG-21 Bison during the aerial combat.
Later that year, he was conferred with the Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest war time gallantry medal.