Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned home from Pakistan on Friday to a hero’s welcome, two days after he was captured following a dogfight when his MiG 21 was shot down. Hundreds of media personnel are at the Attari border that separates India from Pakistan and millions of Indians glued to their TV sets and social media accounts to watch the homecoming of the IAF pilot.
Pakistani officials handed over Varthaman to Indian officials, including from the IAF, at the Attari-Wagah Border.
However, the pilot was whisked away in a convoy by Indian officials away from the public glare.
Addressing the media, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said, “Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been handed over to us. He will now be taken for a detailed medical check up because he had to eject from an aircraft. IAF is happy to have him back.”
Varthaman was captured by Pakistani authorities on February 27 after an air combat between the air forces of the two countries, a day after New Delhi had conducted counter-terror operations in Pakistan’s Balakot.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing a special joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday announced his release as a “peace gesture”. However, India has been maintaining that Pakistani decision is in consonance with the Geneva Convention.
The Pakistan government was under tremendous international pressure to de-escalate the tensions with India and release the captured pilot.
Forty CRPF personnel were killed and many injured on February 14 in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.
IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been returned to India at the Wagah-Attari border two days after he was captured by Pakistan during an intense aerial dogfight. Wing Commander Varthaman was received by the Border Security Officials. Hundreds of media personnel are at the Attari border that separates India from Pakistan and millions of Indians glued to their TV sets and social media accounts to watch the homecoming of the IAF pilot.