Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will fly a fighter jet once he is declared medically fit to do so, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said on Monday. “Whether he flies again or not depends on his medical fitness. That is why post ejection, he has undergone a medical check. Thereafter, whatever treatment is required, we have given to him,” Dhanoa said.
The Air Chief Marshal, who was addressing the media in Coimbatore, added, “Once he gets his medical fitness, then only will he get into a fighter cockpit.”
Varthaman was captured by the Pakistan Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison was shot down as he chased Pakistan Air Force intruders. He was released nearly 60 hours later by Pakistani authorities as a “gesture of peace”.
After his return from Pakistan via the Attari-Wagah border late Friday night, Varthaman was escorted to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment, a specialised medical evaluation centre or aircrew of all the three services.
The IAF pilot also underwent a series of medical tests as part of a “cooling down” process, PTI had quoted officials as saying.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met the Wing Commander at RR hospital in New Delhi on Saturday. Varthaman is understood to have explained Sitharaman the details about his stay in Pakistan.