Pakistan has returned an Indian fighter pilot who was captured by the Pakistani Army after his MiG-21 Bison jet shot down on Wednesday in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was handed over to Indian officials on 01 Mar 2019 Friday at the only legal border crossing with Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Prime Minster Imran Khan announced parliament on Thursday that the pilot’s release was a “peace gesture” to India.
India and Pakistan claim all of Kashmir, but each controls only parts of it. Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent.
The pilot is being hailed as a hero in India, with fireworks being set off in the capital Delhi.
The pilot’s homecoming sparked jubilation in India as large crowds gathered near the border post cheering, dancing and waving Indian flags in scenes broadcast live on major TV news channels, who counted down the hours to Varthaman’s return throughout the afternoon and evening.
A Bollywood filmmaker has already applied to copyright the movie title Abhinandan.
Welcome Home Wing Commander Abhinandan!
The nation is proud of your exemplary courage.
Our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 1, 2019
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been undergoing medical treatment since his return to India and has conveyed to the IAF brass that he wishes to return to the cockpit as soon as possible.