IAF Braveheart Pilot Wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman returns home, received by BSF officials.

Pramesh Jain

IAF Braveheart Pilot Wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman returns home, received by BSF officials.
Highlights :
* Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was reportedly captured on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison was hit by the Pakistan Army across the Line of Control (LoC).
* Abhinandan Varthaman was received at the Wagah-Attari border by his parent.
* His parents were accompanied by Indian Air Force officers at the Wagah-Attari border
* Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has crossed the Wagah-Attari border and finally reached India.
Captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India at 9.20 pm on Friday, after nearly 60 hours in Pakistan’s captivity. The pilot was smiling and had a black eye as he crossed into India through the Attari-Wagah border, hours later than expected.
Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman captured by Pakistan after his plane crashed on the other side of LoC while on a mission,steps back on Indian soil.
IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistan on Wednesday has been handed over to India at Attari-Wagah border.
Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was arrested by the Pakistani rangers on Wednesday, is back on Indian soil.He had to undergo an immigration process and a one-page visa has been issued so he could enter the country.IAF pilot’s capture in Pakistan occurred amid escalating military tension between the two countries. On Wednesday, IAF pilot Abhinandan’s MiG 21 had shot down Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet before falling into an ambush which led to the crash of the fighter jet he was flying. Abhinandan landed on Pakistani soil after ejecting from his jet and was arrested by the Pakistani forces. However, it is believed India put back-channel diplomatic pressure with the help of allies to make Pakistan release the pilot immediately. On Thursday, Imran Khan announced in the Pakistan National Assembly that Abhinandan would be set free as ‘peace gesture’.India has meanwhile maintained that Pakistan is obliged to release the pilot under the Geneva Conventions.
After hours of waiting, Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistan on Wednesday has been handed over to India.Pakistan has changed the timing of handover twice.New Delhi wanted to bring back captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan by a special flight, but was denied permission. Pakistan has said Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was being released as a “gesture of peace. It is not clear whether the pilot will be handed over to the International Red Cross or to the Indian authorities by Pakistan.
IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman’s MiG 21 was shot during an aerial combat between India and Pakistan on Wednesday morning. He has been in Pakistan since then.
India had rejected Imran Khan’s call on Thursday for a dialogue, saying there would be “no deal” on the Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s release.
Amid soaring tension, the government demanded the “immediate and safe return” of the pilot and said it “would be well-advised to ensure that no harm comes to him”.
Tensions between the two countries escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early Tuesday. It came 12 days after the JeM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.
Welcome home Wing Commander  Abhinandan Varthaman! India is proud of your courage and sense of duty, and above all your dignity. Wishing you and our entire Air Force every success in the future #President Kovind tweeted.
Welcome Home Wing Commander Abhinandan!The nation is proud of your exemplary courage.Our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians.Vande Mataram! Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
Proud of you Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman.The entire nation appreciates your valour and grit. You held your calm in the face of adversity. You are an inspiration to our youth. Salute.Vande Mataram.Jaihind,Defence Minister Smt.Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted.
Welcome back Wg Cdr V Abhinandan.
We are proud of you. Jai Hind!!!
#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan.Indian Air Force tweeted.
Home Minister, Rajnath Singh welcomes Abhinandan Varthaman : Welcome Home! The entire Nation is proud of Wing Commander Abhinandan.
Dear Wing Commander Abhinandan, entire nation is proud of your courage and valour.India is glad to have you back.May you continue to serve the nation and IAF with unparalleled passion and dedication. Best wishes for your bright future.Amith Shah BJP National President tweeted.
Let’s #WelcomeHomeAbhinandan our superhero, proud and brave son of Maa Bharati.Wing Cdr. #Abhinandan is the man who shot down F-16 Pak aircraft with a Mig 21.Whole India stands with our army & Army’s fight to eradicate terrorism from roots.#AbhinandanReturns.Shobha Karandalje BJP MP tweeted.
India is proud of you Wing Commander Abhinandan!The nation salute the way you defended the sovereignty of the country by displaying indomitable courage and bravery. Uttar Pradesh, along with entire nation is proud of your exemplary courage.Jai Hind Jai Hind Ki Sena.UP CM Yogi Adithyanath Tweeted.
Extremely happy that Our Hero #IAF pilot Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman is back.The grace, grit, and commitment he showed during the toughest time is really admirable. We are proud of him.The nation salutes his bravery.#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy tweeted.
Abhinandan has shown the world what a true hero he is and what fighters like him are made of. An inspiration for our youngsters & a role model they must emulate. It is such a delight for the whole nation to welcome him back to his motherland.#WelcomeBackAbhinandan.Karnataka Deputy CM Dr.G.Parameshwara tweeted.
Am I the only one whose in tears now??? So so happy to have our hero back home 🙏Salute you. #WingCommandarAbhinandan
#IndianHero.Harshika Poonacha Kannada Actress tweeted.
It must be understood that #Pakistan has not done us a favor by returning #WingCommanderAbhinandan. Under the #GenevaConvention, a serving soldier captured during conflict has to be returned.
We must not forget that after 1971, we released over 90,000 PoW from Pakistan. Welcome back soldier. You have made us all very proud. I salute your valor, courage, conviction, calmness and selflessness. #WelcomeHomeHero #WingCommanderAbhinandan #JaiHind.General VK Singh tweeted
Wing Commander Abhinandan, your dignity, poise and bravery made us all proud.Welcome back and much love,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted after the pilot’s return.
Welcome back Wing Commander Abhinandan. I salute your bravery and the courage of your family. India is proud of you.Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
Welcome back Wing Commander Abhinandan .you are our HERO in the truest sense.. The country salutes you and the bravery and dignity you have shown  #Respect #WelcomeBackAbinandan Jai Hind.Sania Mirza Tennis Player tweeted.
Have not asked Pakistan about reasons for delay, happy to have Abhinandan Varthaman back: Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, Deputy Commissioner Amritsar.
IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman at the Attari-Wagah border after being handed ove to India.
Authorities on both the Pakistani and Indian sides have been tight-lipped on the reasons for the delay.
Images of Wing Commander Abhinandan’s capture and questioning, circulated from Pakistani accounts, left millions of Indians stricken and worried. The 38-year-old was blind-folded, his eyes bleeding over his handlebar moustache and his hands tied behind his back. A video showed him dragged from a pond, surrounded by locals.
The alarming videos were taken off as Pakistan was accused of violating the Geneva Convention.
Cease Fire Violation by Pak in Mendhar, Balakote and Krishna Ghati sectors.
Pakistan has resorted to heavy shelling with mortars and firing of small arms along LoC in Mendhar, Balakote and Krishna Ghati Sectors in Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively to the provocation.
He parachuted out over enemy territory. Fired in the air to keep back angry locals. Jumped into a pond and then destroyed documents by eating them.”
For the Varthamans, flying the MiG-21 fighter aircraft is a sort of family tradition. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman downed a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet before his MiG-21 Bison was hit during a dogfight. His father Air Marshal (retd) Simhakutty Varthaman also flew the MiG-21s and was an Indian Air Force test pilot, who retired five years ago, a family friend said on Friday.”
Wing Commander Abhinandan’s grandfather was also in the air force, he said.
In an interview to media persons, Wing Commander (retd) Prakash Navale, who was a course-mate of Wing Commander Abhinandan’s father at the National Defence Academy or NDA during 1969-72, said the first time he saw the young pilot was when he was a three-year-old toddler.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s family has served the Indian Air Force for generations, since the second World War,
PM Modi said today that every Indian was “proud that the brave Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was captured by Pakistan hails from Tamil Nadu.Speaking after inaugurating a railway line between Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi, Modi added: “I am proud that India’s first woman Defence Minister is from Tamil Nadu.The Indian Air Force pilot is set to be released by Pakistan later in the day.
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj urged the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to “act together” to combat global terrorism amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, triggered by the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama last month.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s release was announced by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday. But the way the handover will take place has complicated the pilot’s return to India.
There were two options – by road through Wagah or on a flight from Islamabad. India, say sources, did not want Abhinandan Varthaman to return to media frenzy at Wagah, especially in the afternoon, when the flag-lowering ceremony draws large crowds.
A large number of people have assembled at the Attari Joint Check Post (JCP) here on Friday to receive Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman who is likely to be released by Pakistani authorities later in the day.
People started arriving in Attari, around 30 km from Amritsar, since 6 a.m. Their numbers swelled by 9 a.m.
We have come here to welcome our country’s hero back home. We will give him a grand welcome. He showed a lot of bravery in the air combat and even after being captured by the Pakistanis,” Jitender, a resident of Amritsar, who arrived in Attari with his friends, said.
Manjit Singh, who was carrying a dhol, said: “Many celebrities and other important people come to Attari border on different occasions. But today, a real hero is coming back. We will give him a a big and warm welcome with dhol and bhangra”.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s parents, Air Marshal S. Varthaman (Retired) and mother Shobha Varthaman, who is a doctor, were cheered by passengers when they boarded a flight from Chennai to New Delhi on Thursday evening. They are on their way to Amritsar to welcome their son back home.
Students pray for a speedy release of Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, in a school in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2019. Pakistan said it will release the pilot in a “peace gesture.
Indian Defence forces will continue to remain on high alert across the border despite IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman’s release.