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On September 30, the Indian Air Force will retire one of its four remaining squadrons of the ageing MiG-21 fighter jets, the Srinagar-based No. 51 squadron, also known as "Sword Arms," an official familiar with the situation said on Monday. More than three and a half years have passed since the Indian Air Force wrote a historic episode of bravery beyond enemy lines.

The squadron at the time included Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman, who received the Vir Chakra for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 combat aircraft on February 27, 2019, during a duel over the LOC.

The dogfight occurred on February 26, 2019, a day after the Indian Air Force's Mirage-2000 aircraft blasted the area in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and destroyed a terror complex in Balakot, Pakistan. The assault was a response to the Pulwama suicide attack in Kashmir on February 14 that claimed the lives of 40 members of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).