Updated: March 2, 2019 8:04:12 pm
A day after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday met him at RR hospital in Delhi. The Indian Air Force pilot is understood to have explained Sitharaman the details about his nearly 60-hour stay in Pakistan, PTI reported.
After his return from Pakistan via the Attari-Wagah border late Friday night, the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot underwent a series of medical tests as part of a “cooling down” process, PTI quoted officials as saying. Earlier today, Varthaman met his family members and several top officials of the IAF, officials said. Follow LIVE updates here
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returns to India
Soon after his arrival in Delhi around 11.45 pm, Varthaman was escorted to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), a specialised medical evaluation centre or aircrew of all the three services.
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Conveying her greetings, Sitharaman last night tweeted “Jai Hind… Proud of you Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman. The entire nation appreciates your valour and grit. You held your calm in the face of adversity. You are an inspiration to our youth. Salute. Vande Mataram.”
Varthaman was captured by the Pakistan Army two days ago after his MiG-21 Bison was shot down as he chased Pakistan Air Force intruders. The Wing Commander’s release is being viewed as first signs of de-escalation between the two nuclear-armed countries.
Upon Varthaman’s return, Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, reading from a prepared statement, told reporters: “Wing Commander Abhinandan has just been handed over to us as per standing operating procedure of Indian Air Force. We will now take him for a detailed medical check-up. This check-up is mandated particularly because the officer has had to eject from an aeroplane which would have put his entire body under great stress. IAF is happy to have Abhinandan back.”
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