In a statement on Friday, Singh said he wholeheartedly welcomed IAF Wing Commander Varthaman back home, while choosing not to receive him at the border to ensure that the defence protocol that is usually followed in such cases is not violated in any way.
A day after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow him to receive Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman at Wagah border, he chose to stay away to ensure that the defence protocol is not violated.
The Government of India also did not respond to his request. In a statement on Friday, Singh said he wholeheartedly welcomed IAF Wing Commander Varthaman back home, while choosing not to receive him at the border to ensure that the defence protocol that is usually followed in such cases is not violated in any way.
”I would have loved to go since both he and his father were from National Defence Academy, like me, and it would have been an extremely happy and nostalgic moment for me to receive the brave officer,”said the Chief Minister. However, after his offer to the Prime Minister last evening to welcome the IAF officer back on Indian soil at the Punjab border, Singh said he thought it over and came to a conclusion that it might contravene the protocols laid out for such cases. “When any prisoner of war of 1965 or 1971 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,” he noted, adding in the circumstances, it would be more proper for him not to go to the Wagah border to receive the officer.
The Chief Minister has been camping in the border areas of Punjab for the past two days as part of a confidence-building exercise in wake of the escalated Indo-Pak tensions.
But, the Chief Minister has extended a warm welcome to Abhinandan, saying the whole nation is proud of the way he stood up to questioning by the Pakistan armed forces during his captivity. “It was top-class and I congratulate him and welcome him back home,” Amarinder said.
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