IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman returns to India
Attari, 01 March 2019 : IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistanis two days ago after his MiG-21 crashed in Pakistani territory, returned to India on Friday night. He was handed over to Indian authorities by Pakistan at Attari–Wagah border. Air Vice Marshal R G Kapoor said Abhinandan was handed over as per standard operating procedure and Indian Air Force is happy to have him back. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has welcomed Wing Commander Abhinandan back to the country, saying the nation is proud of his exemplary courage.
In a tweet, Mr Modi said that the country’s armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians. Several leaders have also welcomed and lauded Abhinandan for his poise and courage. In a tweet, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, the entire nation appreciates the Wing Commander’s valour and grit and he is an inspiration to youth. Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Smriti Irani too lauded the pilot for his bravery.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in a tweet, said Abhinandan’s dignity, poise and bravery has made the countrymen proud. Andhra Pradesh N Chandrababu Naidu, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have also welcomed the return of Wing Commander Abhinandan. The IAF pilot was captured by Pakistani authorities on February 27th after an aerial engagement between the air forces of the two countries, a day after New Delhi conducted counter-terror operations in Pakistan’s Balakot over the Pulwama terror attack.