PM Modi welcomes IAF pilot Abhinandan, says ‘India is proud of your exemplary courage’

On Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's return to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday lauded the “exemplary courage” of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who returned to India after remaining in Islamabad’s custody for nearly 60 hours. Taking to Twitter, Modi said, “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!” Abhinandan LIVE News Updates

Two days after he was captured by the Pakistan Army, Abhinandan handed over to Indian officials at the Wagah border in Punjab at around 9.30 pm today. Abhinandan’s parents — his father is an IAF veteran — had travelled to Amritsar from Chennai this morning to meet him on arrival. However, the pilot was whisked away in a convoy by Indian officials away from the public glare.

IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is back home amid relief, cheers

Abhinandan was captured on the morning of February 27 after his MiG21 Bison aircraft was shot down by Pakistan. The IAF was responding after Pakistan violated India’s airspace over Nowshera and Krishna Ghati sectors of Rajouri and Poonch districts and attempted air strikes. Abhinandan was captured by the Pakistan Army after his parachute landed across the Line of Control (LoC).

Marking a significant step towards de-escalation, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had said his country would release the IAF pilot as a “goodwill gesture”. In the Pakistan Parliament, he said: “I want to say that Pakistan wants peace. We want stability and peace to ensure development. This tension does not benefit either Pakistan or India. …Nobody wins in a war. That too between two nations which have a very destructive weapon.”

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