Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthanam who was in Pakistani custody , and whose release was announced by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan as a ‘gesture of peace’ after sustained International pressure and India’s diplomatic outreach has finally reached home.
IAF received the Wing Commander two days after he was captured while engaging in an aerial dogfight with Pakistani F-16s.
There was emotional and euphoric scenes as he arrived at Attari, on the Indian side of the border. Hordes of people had come to greet him on his arrival.
He will be taken to Amritsar for medical check-ups and a debriefing and then taken by an IAF flight to New Delhi.
— ANI (@ANI) March 1, 2019
India has cancelled the ritual Beating the Retreat ceremony at the border.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh who wanted to be in Wagah to receive Abhinandan, said, he would not be there since it would be a breach of protocol. He had tweeted, “whenever anybody comes back like it happened to Prisoners of War in ’65 & ’71, they had to first go for a medical and then be debriefed. I think same process will be followed here.”
At Wagah, hundreds of Indians, faces painted with the national flag, waited to see Abhinandan return, chanting slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.