‘Welcome back our hero’: Sports stars hail IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan’s returnhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/sport-others/iaf-wing-commander-abhinandan-varthaman-return-reactions-5607066/

‘Welcome back our hero’: Sports stars hail IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan’s return

After being held in Pakistan's custody for two days, the IAF pilot returned to his motherland on Friday. Pakistan government officials accompanied the pilot in a convoy and handed him over to India at the Attari-Wagah Border crossing.

People jubilate with a Tricolour as they wait for IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthama’s return to India in New Delhi. (Source: PTI)

Hailing Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman for his courage, former opener batsman Virender Sehwag said Friday that the nation is proud to have him back. After being in the custody of Pakistan Army for two days, the IAF pilot was returned to India at the Attari-Wagah border crossing.

Stating that the entire nation is proud of the IAF pilot for his valour, Sehwag tweeted, ” How proud we are to have you! Bow down to your skills and even more your grit and courage ?? #WelcomeBackAbhinandan . We love you and are filled with pride because of you. #WeAreSupposedToTellYouThis”

The IAF pilot’s family members were greeted with a standing ovation when they boarded a flight to Amritsar, from where they would travel to the border crossing.

The IAF pilot landed in Pakistan’s custody when his MiG 21 Bison aircraft was shot down after he engaged with Pakistan Air Force jets that violated Indian air space.  Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday announced that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman would be released as a gesture of peace and the first step to open negotiations with New Delhi.

India had sought the unconditional and immediate repatriation of the IAF pilot, underlining that his release could not be a bargaining chip.