Marking a dramatic shift in mood after the two countries involved in an aerial clash in the last few days, a small crowd of people danced to drum-beats, shouted slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and waved the national flag as they wait for the pilot who is likely to be handed over at the Attari-Wagah border.
Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday. W ing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman engaged in an air duel with one of the Pakistani F-16s that attempted air strikes across the Line of Control on Wednesday and shot it down before his jet crashed and he was forced to eject.
Visuals of armoured cars and ambulances drawing up on the Indian side of the Wagah crossing indicated that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was on his way from Lahore. A small crowd, some in it holding the Indian flag, waited for the 35-year-old hero pilot’s homecoming after two days in Pakistani captivity.
Abhinandan Varthaman was driven to the border in a Pakistani military vehicle and is likely to be released to India after sunset.
The confrontation between India and Pakistan happened with the February 14 Pulwama attack by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, in which over 40 soldiers were killed. India’s air strikes on Tuesday targeted a huge Jaish training facility in Pakistan’s Balakot, around 80 km from the Line of Control.