Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday said that he would not go to Wagah border to welcome IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Singh was quoted by news agency ANI as saying, “I would love to go (to receive Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman ) but there are laid out protocol whenever anybody comes back like it happened to Prisoners of war in ’65 & ’71, they had to first go for medical and then be debriefed. I think the same process will be followed here.”

After his offer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening to welcome the IAF officer back on Indian soil at the Punjab border, Singh concluded that he chose not to violate the military protocols laid out in such cases. The Chief Minister said in a statement, “I would have loved to go since both he and his father were from the National Defence Academy, like me, and it would have been an extremely happy and nostalgic moment for me to receive the brave officer.”

Singh noted, “When any prisoner of war from the 1965 or 1971 war came back, he was first sent for medical examination, followed by a debriefing, which was likely to be the case with Wing Commander Abhinandan too.”

The Chief Minister, who has been camping in the border areas for the past three days, said that it would be inappropriate to travel around 285 km from his place to the Attari border. However, he extended a very warm welcome to Varthaman, saying the whole nation was proud of the way he stood up to questioning by the Pakistan armed forces during captivity.

(With Agency inputs)