New Delhi: While India is exulting in how captive IAF personnel Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman would be released by Pakistan on Friday, there is one leader who has more than a reason to be happy. (Also read: ‘We Stand Prepared,’ Say Armed Forces in First Joint Press Conference)

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh took to Twitter to tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi how he would love to receive Varthaman at Wagah. He called it an honour because like the captive pilot and his favour, a decorated retired Air Force official himself, Singh said he was an alumnus of the National Defence Academy too.

Earlier in the evening, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that Varthaman would be released on Friday as a “gesture of peace”.  However, in their first-ever joint press conference, the Indian armed forces sought to play down the gesture and said it was only in “consonance with the Geneva Convention”.

The development found a mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in the national capital where he gave away the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awards to the scientist community.

There, the PM said a “pilot project had been completed”. He said, “Aap toh laboratory mein zindagi gujarne wale log hain. Aur aap mein pilot project karne ki parampara hoti hain. Aur pilot project hone ke baad scaleable kiya jata hain. Toh abhi abhi ek pilot project ho gaya hain. Abhi real karna hain… Pehle toh practice thi (You spend your lives in a laboratory. And there is a tradition of carrying out pilot project… A pilot project, if successful, is then scaled up. So one pilot project has been completed. The earlier one was just practice).”