/ ‘Good to be back’: IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman on Indian soil after 58 hours in Pak Army custody

Hindustan Times : Mar 02, 2019, 09:42 AM

Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India on Friday night, two days after he was captured in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, potentially capping for now a week of heightened tension that threatened to snowball into a wider military conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Varthaman, dressed in civilian attire, crossed the border at Wagah a little before 9pm and walked across to Indian side.

Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India on Friday night, two days after he was captured in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, potentially capping for now a week of heightened tension that threatened to snowball into a wider military conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Varthaman, dressed in civilian attire, crossed the border at Wagah a little before 9pm and walked across to the Indian side where hundreds of people had gathered since the afternoon to greet him on his return. He was captured on Wednesday after his MiG-21 aircraft was downed in a dogfight over the Line of Control in Kashmir. “Wing Commander Abhinandan has just been handed over to us. He will be taken now for a detailed medical checkup. This checkup is mandatory as he had to eject from an airplane which would have put his entire body under stress,” said Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor in a brief statement to reporters before a fleet of vehicles left the border crossing for Amritsar, from where Varthaman was set to be flown to New Delhi.