Minutes after his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan said captured IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman will be repatriated to India Friday as a “gesture of peace”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said; “Abhi abhi ek pilot project pura ho gaya. Abhi real karna hai, pehle toh practice thi.” Read in Bangla
Speaking at the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi to felicitate scientists, Modi said, “Aap toh laboratories me zindagi guzarne vale log hai aur apme pehle ‘pilot project’ karne ki parampara hoti hai. pilot project karne ke baad scalability hoti hai. Abhi abhi ek pilot project pura ho gaya. Abhi real karna hai, pehle toh practice thi (You people spend your lives in laboratories. It is a custom to first make a ‘pilot project’. Scalability is done after that. Just now one pilot project has been completed. Now we have to make it real, earlier it was just practice),” he said.
Watch video: Project pilot complete, says PM Modi
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said his government has decided to release Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman tomorrow (March 1). “As a peace gesture, we have decided to release the Indian pilot in our custody,” he said.
Meanwhile, government sources had told The Indian Express that India is in no mood to negotiate any deal and it wants Abhinandan back immediately and unharmed.
Pakistan had on Wednesday claimed it shot down two Indian fighter jets over Pakistani air space and arrested a pilot amid the face off between the two countries. The Ministry of External Affairs later confirmed that a MiG 21 was lost and the pilot “missing in action”.
“There is only one pilot under Pakistan Army’s custody. Wing Commander Abhinandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, spokesperson of the Pakistan Armed Forces had said. Soon, videos started emerging on social media from Pakistan featuring Abhinandan — one showed him being assaulted by a mob, others showed him being interrogated.
According to defence portal bharat-rakshak.com, Abhinandan was commissioned as a fighter pilot on June 19, 2004. It is learnt that he had recently completed his training at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Tamil Nadu. The course trains officers from all three services for command and staff appointments.