Live Updates

  • 10:26 PM IST

  • 10:24 PM IST
    India-Pakistan Standoff Live: “Welcome Home Wing Commander Abhinandan! The nation is proud of your exemplary courage. Our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians. Vande Mataram!” tweeted PM Modi
  • 10:05 PM IST

    India-Pakistan Standoff Live: Welcoming Abhinandan back to India, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted,”Wing Cdr. Abhinandan, your dignity, poise and bravery made us all proud. Welcome back and much love.”

  • 10:03 PM IST

    India-Pakistan Standoff Live: Showering praise on Abhinandan, Union Defence Minister Niramala Sitharaman tweeted,”The entire nation appreciates your valour and grit. You held your calm in the face of adversity. You are an inspiration to our youth.”

  • 9:41 PM IST

    India-Pakistan Standoff Live: IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistanis two days ago after his MiG-21 crashed in Pakistani territory, returned to India on Friday night. Dressed in a blue coat, grey trousers and white shirt, he was received by senior Border Security Force officers at Zero Line that marks the India-Pakistan land border.

  • 9:34 PM IST

    India-Pakistan Standoff Live: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweets ‘Jai Hind’ as IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan returns to India.

  • 9:32 PM IST
    India-Pakistan Standoff Live: “Wing commander Abhinandan has been handed over to us. Now we will take him for detailed medical checkup because he had to eject from an aircraft. We are happy to have him back”, says Air Vice Marshal Ravi Gopal Krishana Kapoor.
  • 9:21 PM IST

    India-Pakistan Standoff Live: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman handed over to Indian authorities by Pak officials.

  • 9:20 PM IST

New Delhi: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the IAF pilot held captive by Pakistan for two days, reached India on Friday evening. He was received by a delegation of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Wagah Border.

Earlier in the day, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had completed the travel documentation of IAF pilot. Reportedly, Pakistani authorities will bring him from Rawalpindi to Lahore and hand him over to the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) under rules of the Geneva Convention. (ALSO READ – He Talked so Bravely, We Are so Proud of Him: Father of IAF Pilot Abhinandan)

The IAF pilot Abhinandan’s MiG 21 was shot and he bailed out after bringing down one Pakistani F-16 fighter during a dogfight as three Pakistani jets violated Indian airspace in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowshera and Poonch on Wednesday. He has been in Pakistan since then.

Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan buckled under the global pressure and announced in Parliament that Abhinandan would be released on Friday as a ‘peace gesture’. However, India disagreed to his claim stating that it was a gesture in consonance with all Geneva conventions.

Addressing a news conference, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor, assistant chief of Air Staff, “We are very happy Abhinandan will be freed tomorrow and look forward to his return,” told a news conference. Asked if the IAF sees it as a goodwill move, he said, “We see it as a gesture in consonance with the Geneva Conventions.”

Meanwhile, the IT Ministry asked YouTube to remove 11 video links related to Wing Commander Abhinandan. After directing YouTube to pull down objectionable video links of the IAF pilot, the Government sent out a stern warning to social media firms not to allow their platforms to be abused for ‘weakening the morale of the country’.

Tensions between the two countries escalated after India carried out ‘pre-emptive’ strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot during wee hours on Tuesday. The action came in retaliation to the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans were killed on February 14 in south Kashmir as an explosive-laden vehicle rammed into a bus in the convoy. The attack was carried out by JeM militant Adil Ahmad Dar.