/ IAF pilot captured by Pakistan is the son of a retired air marshal

Hindustan Times : Feb 28, 2019, 02:24 PM

Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, whose capture by Pakistan ratcheted up tensions between the two countries on Wednesday, has been a fighter pilot for 16 years & he is the son of decorated and senior officer of air force. Varthaman is an alumnus of the Khadakwasla-based National Defence Academy. India took exception to Pakistan’s treatment of Varthaman and demanded his immediate safe return.

Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, whose capture by Pakistan ratcheted up tensions between the two countries on Wednesday, has been a fighter pilot for 16 years and is the son of a decorated and senior officer of the air force.

Varthaman is an alumnus of the Khadakwasla-based National Defence Academy. He was an accomplished Sukhoi-30 fighter pilot before being assigned to the MiG-21 Bison squadron.

Varthaman’s MiG-21 aircraft was shot down by Pakistan on Wednesday morning, and he was captured by Pakistani armed forces. In a video shot and released by Pakistan in the morning, Varthaman was seen blindfolded and spelling out his name and service number, without divulging any other information.

In a second video released in the evening, Varthaman was seen sipping tea and saying that he was treated well. In the clip, he described the Pakistani armed forces personnel as “thorough gentlemen”. “This is what I would expect my army to behave as, and I am thoroughly impressed,” he said. When asked where he hailed from, and what his squadron was, Varthaman refused to give details, only saying he was from “down south”.

India took exception to Pakistan’s treatment of Varthaman and demanded his “immediate and safe return”.

“India also strongly objects to Pakistan’s vulgar display of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions. It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody,” according to demarche issued to Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner.