IAF Pilot Abhinandan Varthaman HIGHLIGHTS: Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was in Islamabad’s custody for nearly 60 hours, was released at Wagah Border by Pakistani authorities on Friday, a move widely seen as a de-escalation of tensions between the two neighbouring nations. Abhinandan was handed over to Indian officials at the Wagah-Attari border, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed. Dressed in a suit, the IAF Wing Commander was accompanied by a woman and Pakistani rangers till the border.
This development comes a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced during the joint session of Parliament that they will return the IAF pilot to India as a “peace gesture”.
Hours after the announcement, the Indian armed forces, at a joint press briefing in New Delhi, assured the country of “a resolute, swift and strong response when needed”. They also added that the IAF pilot’s return was “in consonance with the Geneva Convention.” It had earlier expressed objections to Pakistan’s “vulgar display” of the pilot after videos of him in the Army’s custody surfaced on social media. Sources said Delhi made it clear that there was no deal to be made and there was no room for negotiations but added that there would be consequences if the pilot was harmed or not released.