Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned home from Pakistan on Friday at around 9:20 in the evening to a hero’s welcome at the Attari-Wagah International Border Check Post, two days after he was captured following a dogfight when his MiG 21 was shot down.
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.
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.
The Pakistan government was under tremendous international pressure to de-escalate the tensions with India and release the captured pilot.
Briefing the media at Attari-Wagah border, Air Vice Marshal Ravi Gopal Krishana Kapoor said that the Indian Air Force is happy to have Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman back.
Reading out a brief statement, Air Vice Marshal Kapoor, informed that the pilot will undergo a detailed medical examination as he was subjected to lot of stress during his nearly three-day captivity.
Meanwhile, taking to Twitter, reactions came in from Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with other leaders right after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s return to India from Pakistan.
Following the return of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India shared a picture of a special jersey to welcome the Braveheart’s return to India.
“#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan You rule the skies and you rule our hearts. Your courage and dignity will inspire generations to come #TeamIndia,” tweeted BCCI minutes after Abhinandan had crossed the border.
Meanwhile, celebrations broke out across the country, the moment Wing Commander Abhinandan stepped onto Indian soil.