New Delhi: A day after Pakistan handed over Abhinandan Varthaman to Indian authorities, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman paid a visit to the wing commander at a hospital in the national capital, where the former is undergoing treatment.
Sitharaman conveyed to him that the entire nation is proud of his courage and determination. During the meeting at a medical facility of the Indian Air Force, Varthaman is understood to have explained to Sitharaman details about his nearly 60-hour stay in Pakistan.
Earlier in the day, Varthaman met IAF chief BS Dhanoa and apprised him about his detention in the neighbouring country.
Varthaman is reportedly going through a cooling down process which is likely to continue for a few more days. As part of this, he will be kept under medical observation and be debriefed by the Air Force.
Speaking to ANI, IAF officials said, “Varthaman, is undergoing a medical check-up at a military hospital. He will stay at an Indian Air Force Officers Mess.”
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistani authorities on Wednesday after his MiG 21 Bison was shot down over Pakistani territory. His parachute landed in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and was handed over to Pakistan army.
On Thursday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced the decision to release the Wing Commander in the national assembly as a peace gesture to India. However, India disagreed to his claim stating that it was a gesture in consonance with all Geneva conventions.
Meanwhile, Varthaman crossed the Wagah-Attari border post into India from Pakistan at 9:20 PM on Friday.
“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,” Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor told reporters.
Showering praise on the Wing Commander, PM Modi called him an inspiration for 130 crore Indians. “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,” the Prime Minister had tweeted.