Abhinandan Varthaman's first words after stepping back on Indian soil
New Delhi : Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India on Friday night at around 9.25 PM. He was taken away by the IAF officials for a “debriefing session” on his captivity in the custody of the Pakistan army. Though he did not speak to the media, his first words were quoted by Amritsar deputy commissioner.
"It's good to be back home," Amritsar deputy commissioner Shivdular Singh Dhillon quoted Abhinandan as saying.
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.
Staying in Pakistan for almost 60 hours, he returned home via Wagah-Attari border, after Pakistan rejected India's demand to fly him back in an IAF fighter jet.
Dressed in blue blazer and grey trouser, he was accompanied to the border by Group captain Joy Thomas Kurien.
Varthaman’s MiG 21 had crashed on the other side while he chased down Pakistan’s F16 jets early on Wednesday morning in the latter’s bid to attack India’s military installations.
He was captured by the Pakistani armies under Geneva Convention that outlines the basic rights of wartime prisoner, including civilians and military personnel, establishes protection for the wounded and sick, and gives measures to safeguard civilians in and around a war-zone.
On Thursday evening, Pakistan PM Imran Khan announced that Varthaman would be released in a gesture of peace. However, India’s armed forces didn’t make much of it and during a joint press briefing the same evening, they said the neighbour was just acting in consonance with the Geneva Convention.