Before ‘cooling down’ and medical tests, IAF pilot Abhinandan meets family in Delhi
Right now, the Wing Commander is going through a process called “cooling down” and this exercise is likely to continue for a few more days. Abhinandan had undergone a preliminary examination upon his arrival in India.Sources say that the top priority for the air force right now is to bring his health back to normal.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who crossed the Wagah-Attari border post into India from Pakistan on Friday evening, met with his family members for a few minutes upon his arrival in Delhi late in the night. He was also met by Air Force chief Air Marshal BS Dhanoa early on Saturday morning.
Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured by Pakistani authorities on Wednesday after his MiG 21 Bison was shot down over Pakistani territory. But before the IAF pilot ejected from his aging MiG-21 hit in the aerial dogfight over the skies of Jammu, he shot down a fourth generation F-16 fighter. His parachute landed in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and was handed over to Pakistan army.
Right now, the Wing Commander is going through a process called “cooling down” and this exercise is likely to continue for a few more days. As part of this exercise, he will be kept under medical observation, given counselling as well as debriefed by the air force. Abhinandan had undergone a preliminary examination upon his arrival in India. He will undergo some more medical tests today. Sources say that the top priority for the air force right now is to bring his health back to normal.
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“Wing Commander Abhinandan has just been handed over to us. He will be taken now for a detailed medical checkup. This checkup is mandatory as he had to eject from an airplane which would have put his entire body under stress,” said Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor in a brief statement to reporters at Attari on Friday evening.
Abhinandan’s release, coincided with the release of a heavily edited propaganda video to the Pakistani TV channels. The video had come in for severe criticism on social media, with some saying it cast doubt over Pakistan’s claims of the release being a peace gesture.
The 38-year-old IAF officer had walked to his freedom at the Attari border that is manned by the Border Security Force that guards the international border with Pakistan. Ahead of Abhinandan’s return, BSF officials had canceled the retreat ceremony at the border post.
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“Abhinandan is more important than the ceremony,” a local official said about the IAF officer who Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, had made “every Indian proud”.
Wing Commander Abhinandan is the son of decorated air force officer Air Marshal S Varthaman.
Abhinandan became the human face of the conflict between the two countries when Pakistan Army put out a series of videos showing him in its custody.
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On Thursday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced the decision to release Wing Commander Abhinandan in the national assembly. Khan had described it as a “peace gesture” to India. Khan’s announcement was seen as a diplomatic victory in India after it had rejected an effort by Islamabad to use Abhinandan as a bargaining tool.
Pakistan had been under pressure to release the IAF pilot after the Pakistan Air Force tried to bomb military installations in Jammu and Kashmir in response to India’s air strike at terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp at Balakot in Pakistan.
It was the first time in 50 years that India had ordered the IAF jets to carry out an aerial strike across the Line of Control.
Also read | IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman back home after 58 hours in Pakistan Army custody