Wagah, March 1: The Indian Air Force pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was taken into captivity by Pakistan two days back, stepped back on the Indian soil late on Friday. But, not after contradicting reports about the timing of his release kept coming in, keeping the entire nation dangling between hope and despair for the whole day.
A delegation of the Indian Air Force, his parents and other officials received him at the Attari check post. He got a roaring response from the people waiting at the spot since morning as he walked out the gates from Wagah to Attari and was received by the Indian authorities. From there, he was escorted into a car and whisked away pronto.
Pakistan had detained the IAF personnel Wednesday following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two nations along the Line of Control. Varthaman downed a F-16 fighter jet of Pakistan Air Force by firing an R-73 air-to-air missile before his jet, a MiG 21 bison, was hit by an enemy missile, the sources said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday announced that the captive pilot will be released as a gesture of peace. The ‘goodwill gesture’ came largely due to the position India took throughout the day to bring its pilot back home and maintained no deals would be made with Pakistan. India also slammed the neighbour nation for violating terms of the Geneva Convention by displaying vulgar images of the injured IAF personnel.