IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman finally returned home on Friday night after endless hours of tension and wait. Pakistan said he was handed over along with his belongings, however, all that he came back with were his ring, a watch and spectacles.
Upon ejecting out of his crashed MiG 21 Bison, Abhinandan still had his pistol with him, which he used to allegedly fire on locals in Pakistani territory who were chasing him.
Abhinandan was also carrying maps and a survival kit with him and some documents that he managed to destroy before he was captured by the Pakistani army.
However, none of those came back with Abhinandan Varthaman on Friday night when Pakistani Rangers handed him over to the Border Security Force at the Wagah-Attari border.
Abhinandan Varthaman came empty handed, dressed in civilian clothes and without any bags or kits.
The IAF pilot came back with his ring, his spectacles and a blue Casio G-Shock watch.
Interestingly, the “taking over certificate” refers to Abhinandan Varthaman as a “prisoner of war” and has even allotted him the number 27981. India has nowhere referred to Abhinandan as a prisoner of war.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was brought to Delhi after Pakistan released him through the Attari-Wagah border late Friday night, at Delhi’s Army Hospital.
Early Saturday morning, Varthaman met his immediate family members as well as several top officials of the Indian Air Force.
Varthaman arrived in the national capital around 11:45 pm on Friday and soon after he was taken to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment, a compact and specialised medical evaluation centre for aircrew of all the three services.
He was captured by Pakistani authorities on February 27 after his MiG 21 Bison went down during a dogfight with Pakistani jets. But before his plane was hit, Varthaman shot down an F-16 of Pakistan air force.
Wing Commander Varthaman is undergoing a series of medical tests as part of the “cooling down” process and it is expected to continue till Sunday. Once, the health check up phase is over, debriefing sessions will be arranged for him, officials said.
Indian Air Forces Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who returned to India on Friday after spending nearly 60 hours in captivity in Pakistan, has reportedly informed that he went through a lot of mental harassment in Pakistans custody.
He, however, said that he was not physically tortured by the Pakistanis, news agency ANI reported.
The Indian Air Force pilot was captured by the Pakistani military on Wednesday, after his fighter — a MiG-21 — was shot down during a dogfight with jets from the neighbouring country at a time of mounting tensions between the two countries.
Pakistani officials held that although Wing Commander Varthaman was initially assaulted by local residents upon parashooting into their territory, he was treated well by them.