Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is expected to return to India on Friday via the Wagah Border after Pakistan Prime Minister’s announcement of his release as a “gesture of peace”.
The IAF pilot was taken into custody by Pakistan on Wednesday after he landed on the other side of the Line of Control as his aircraft crashed during an aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan.
In our desire of peace, I announce that tomorrow, and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian Air Force officer in our custody,” Khan said on Thursday as Pakistani parliamentarians stamped their feet in approval.
“We are happy that our pilot who had fallen across the Line of Control and was in the custody of Pakistan is being released. We are extremely happy to have him back. We only see it as a gesture which is in consonance with the Geneva Conventions,” Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, the assistant chief of Air Staff, told a news conference.
Government sources said a team of Indian Air Force officials will receive Wing Commander Abhinandan at the Wagah border on Friday evening. The parents of the Wing Commander had arrived in Delhi on Thursday night and will go to Amritsar to welcome him. Abhinandan is the son of Air Marshal (Retd) Varthaman.