Nirmala Sitharaman meets IAF pilot Abhinandan in hospital day after his return


Nirmala Sitharaman met IAF pilot Abhinandan in a Delhi hospital on Saturday.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday met IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was released by Pakistan last night, in a Delhi hospital, news agency PTI reported. Wing Commander Abhinandan arrived in the national capital around 11.45 pm last night, nearly two-and-a-half hours after he crossed Wagah-Attari border in Punjab.

Abinandan is undergoing thorough medical check-up following his return from Pakistan, where he was in custody of the army for more than 55 hours.

Sitharaman conveyed to Wing Commander Abhinandan that the whole country is proud of his courage and determination, the news agency reported quoting unnamed officials.

During the meeting that took place at a medical facility of the Indian Air Force, the IAF pilot is understood to have explained to Sitharaman details about his time in custody of the Pakistan Army.

The IAF pilot had landed on the other side of the Line of Control during the aerial dogfight between the air forces of India and Pakistan on Wednesday morning. The Pakistan Air Force had breached Indian airspace and attempted to target military installations.

Wing Commander Abhinandan was part of the Indian Air Force that foiled the PAF attempt and chased a large package of fighter jets away from the Indian airspace. In the aerial combat that ensued IAF pilot Abhinandan shot down an F-16 PAF fighter jet.

His MiG 21 Bison was also shot down. He ejected the aircraft but his parachute drifted towards Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where he was arrested by the Pakistan Army. He was released by Pakistan amid mounting international pressure to de-escalate tension between the two countries.



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