Wing Commander Abhinandan gets hero welcome in Indian Soil

Wagah: Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman (C) as he is released by Pakistan authorities at Wagah border on the Pakistani side, Friday, March 1, 2019. Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan after his jet went down following a strike by an enemy missile. (PTI Photo)(PTI3_1_2019_000239B)

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman  after day-long dramatic turnouts of events, finally returned back to Indian soil last night at 9.30 PM from the Wagah-Attari border, after being released by the Pakistani authorities.

‘It is good to be back in my country’, were the first words of IAF pilot, after he was handed over to India. The Wing Commander, who remained in Pakistan’s custody for over 60 hours, was received by senior Border Security Force (BSF) officers at Zero Line that marks the India-Pakistan land border.

The BSF then handed him over to the IAF. The pilot will now undergo a detaCongratulatory messages started pouring in as soon as Wing Commander Abhinandan was whisked away by the IAF officials. President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted, “India is proud of your courage, sense of duty and above all, your dignity.”iled medical checkup to gauge his fitness levels.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “The nation is proud of your exemplary courage…our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians.” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed the IAF pilot back.

BJP President Amit Shah said, “May you continue to serve the nation and IAF with unparalleled passion and dedication. Best wishes for your bright future.”The Congress called Wing Commander Abhinandan a “true hero to all of us”.

He was originally expected to return in the afternoon, but it was reportedly delayed twice by Pakistan.  The reported reason cited for the delay was a ‘documentation issue’. India had earlier sought his repatriation via air but Pakistani authorises declined the request.

Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured on February 27 after ejecting into Pakistan controlled territory. He is believed to have shot down an F-16 while flying a MiG-21 Bison, first such kill by a MiG-21. Incidentally, the beating retreat ceremony at the border was cancelled in light of his return, as per administrative requirements.

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