Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned back to India at about on Friday (1 March) via the Wagah-Attari border after being released by the Pakistani authorities, claimed multiple reports.
The return was reportedly delayed twice by Pakistan with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman keeping a close tab on the developments all the while. The reported reason cited for the delay was a ‘documentation issue’.
India had earlier sought his repatriation via air but Pakistani authorises declined the request, late last night (28 February).
As per protocol, the Border Security Force (BSF) and Indian Air Force officials received the pilot. He would now be taken for medical checkup.
Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured on 27 February after ejecting into Pakistan controlled territory. He is believed to have shot down an F-16 while flying a MiG-21 Bison, first such kill by a MiG-21.
Incidentally, the beating retreat ceremony at the border was cancelled in light of his return, as per administrative requirements.
It was earlier reported that Wing Commander’s parents were given a standing ovation while de-boarding from a Chennai-Delhi flight. The parents were seen humbly accepting the applause, cheering and thank-yous with folded hands and head-nods.