Home NATION IAF Braveheart Abhinandan Varthaman says “Happy to Return to India”, PM Modi...

IAF Braveheart Abhinandan Varthaman says “Happy to Return to India”, PM Modi and President Kovind Nath Congratulates

The braveheart Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander, Abhinandan Varthaman, returned back on Indian soil on March 01 through Attara-Wagah border. He expressed his happiness after returning to his motherland, confirmed  Amritsar district commissioner, SS Dhillon.

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The braveheart Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander, Abhinandan Varthaman, returned back on Indian soil on March 01 through Attara-Wagah border. He expressed his happiness after returning to his motherland, confirmed  Amritsar district commissioner, SS Dhillon. “He (Abhinandan) was happy to be back and smiling. He said that he was happy to be back to his country,” said Dhillon, while addressing media in Amritsar.

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After spending three days and two nights under the custody of Pakistan’s army, the valiant hero of the nation returned back. Abhinandan was arrested by the Pakistan’s army on February 27 after he chased and shot down Pakistan’s F-16 fighter jet which made it’s evil intrusion to India’s side across Line of Control (LoC). In this aerial engagement, Abhinandan’s Mig-21 Bison got shot down and he successfully evicted himself from the plane and landed in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

People from all over the country had been waiting for the IAF pilot since morning at the Wagah-Attari border. They were continuously stuck in front of their TV sets keeping an eye on the news channels wanting to know whether the commander has arrived back on Indian soil. Reports at first stated that he will be arriving back at noon, then the handing over process was postponed to 2 pm while reports later claimed his arrival in India between 3 pm to 4 pm. Finally, the wait had come to an end when he crossed the Wagah border to step on Indian side at about 09:22 pm.

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Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, had announced in the Pakistan’s parliament, on February 28, that Abhinandan will be released by his government as “a gesture of peace” on March 1.

However Air Vice Marshal, Ravi Kapoor, termed this as a gesture which is in consonance with the Geneva Conventions. “We are happy that our pilot who had fallen across the Line of Control and was in the custody of Pakistan is being released. We are extremely happy to have him back. We only see it as a gesture which is in consonance with the Geneva Conventions,” Air Vice Marshal, Ravi Kapoor, the assistant chief of Air Staff, said on Thursday.

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The route of the return journey of the Wing Commander had started from Islamabad to Lahore and then Wagha-Attari border. He stepped on Indian side of the Wagah border and was taken to Amritsar airport and then finally he will be flown to Delhi in a special plane where his family was waiting for him. The Wing Commander was accompanied by the Indian High Commission Officials from Lahore to Wagha-Attari Border.

Hours after Pakistan announced it’s decision to release the Wing Commander, India conveyed to Islamabad that it wants him to be sent back via aerial route and not through the Wagah-Attari border. However, late on Thursday night, Pakistan communicated to India that he will be returned through the Attari-Wagah border only. The Indian defence establishment was also mulling over sending a special aircraft to Pakistan to bring back Wing Commander Varthaman.

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Abhinandan was handed over to Indian Air Force officials in India, and then he was directly taken to Indian Air Force Intelligence Unit. The Air Vice Marshals, Ravi Kapoor and Sreekumar Prabhakaran were present at Wagha Border to receive the Wing Commader. The commander will have to undergo several medical tests to check his fitness levels. Scans will be conducted to check whether he has been bugged by Pakistani army, physiological tests will also be conducted as he was in Pakistan in their custody for two days, he might have undergone some sort of torture in order to illicit National Security secrets from him.

People from all over the country had gathered at Wagha Border in order to welcome the Wing commander. Citizens were expressing their joy by singing, dancing and exchanging sweets. The Wagah border was full of patriots expressing their patriotism waiting for the commander since morning. A special thanks giving prayer was also organised by the state Home Guards at Kalikambal Temple in Chennai ahead of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s release by Pakistan.

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Meanwhile, the Beating Retreat Ceremony which is held every day at the Attari-Wagah Border was cancelled to ease the pilot’s handover to Indian authorities, however, Pakistan did allow the Beating Retreat Ceremony to take place on its side. According to the reports, there were around 20,000 people expected at Attari-Wagah Border for the Beating Retreat Ceremony on Friday.

Several leaders and celebrities greeted and welcomed Wing Commander Abhinandan on social media.

“Welcome home #AbhinandanVarthaman Welcome home sweet home”, tweeted, All India Trinamool Congress Chief and Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee.

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Aam Admi Party (AAP) Chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the commander by a tweet which said, “Welcome back Wing Commander Abhinandan. I salute your bravery and the courage of your family. India is proud of you”.

Actor Shah Rukh Khan has tweeted expressing his happiness and love, “There is no better feeling than Coming back Home, for home is the place of love, hope & dreams. Ur bravery makes us stronger. Eternally grateful. #WelcomeBackAbhinandan”.

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External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj went to Abu Dhabi in Dubai to address Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conclave. She attended the inaugural plenary of the two-day meeting on Friday. It is for the first time that India was invited to an OIC meeting as a guest of honour. Pakistan had earlier tried to get Swaraj ‘disinvited’ from the OIC meet following India’s ‘air strike’ on the terror camp in Pakistan.

Moreover, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced that he will not attend the OIC meeting in Dubai due to the attendance of Sushma Swaraj. “I will not attend Council of Foreign Ministers as a matter of principle for having extended invitation as a Guest of Honour to Sushma Swaraj”, Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced.

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A petition was filed in a Pakistan court to stop the handing over of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to India. The petition appealed, “prime minister’s office may be directed to act in accordance with law as enshrined in Article 4 of the Constitution of Pakistan by initiating criminal proceedings of waging the war and act of terrorism and commence the trial under Army Act 1952”, however, it was dismissed by the court in late afternoon on Friday.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) training camp near Balakot was bombed by IAF on February 26, Tuesday. It took place 12 days after the JeM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Kashmir’s Pulwama, killing 44 soldiers. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) carried out a retaliatory aerial combat, targeting several Indian military installations but was unsuccessful and lost their F-16 fighter jet for their evil wishes.

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