Abhinandan’s homecoming: Wing Commander’s family receives heart-warming welcome onboard

New Delhi: It is a day of celebration for India as Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was taken into custody by Pakistani rangers; three days ago will be repatriated today.

Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan yesterday announced the release of captured Varthaman, calling it a “peace gesture”.

Vardaman’s MiG 21 was shot and he bailed out after bringing down one Pakistani F-16 fighter during an air battle to repel a Pakistani attack on Wednesday.

It is worth mentioning that, Abhinandan’s father, Retd Air Marshal S Varthaman, and his wife, Dr. Shobha Varthama were greeted with loud cheers and salutes by passengers who shared the flight with them from Chennai to Delhi last night.

A viral video shows how the proud parents of Abhinandan received a heart-warming welcome on the flight, as passengers applauded and thanked them for giving India, a warrior like Abhinandan.

From the common man to Ministers to Bollywood stars, every Indian is celebrating the moment, hailing it as a “victory for India.”

“Dear @narendramodi Ji , I’m touring the border areas of Punjab & I’m presently in Amritsar. Came to know that @pid_gov has decided to release #AbhinandanVartaman from Wagha. It will be an honor for me to go and receive him, as he and his father are an alumnus of the NDA as I am,” Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh tweeted on Thursday.

“T 3103 – Abhinandan .. शीश झुका कर .. अभिनंदन,” wrote Amitabh Bachchan on Twitter after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that Abhinandan will be released by Pakistan on Friday.

India used diplomatic and military pressure to ensure that Pakistan releases Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman unconditionally, top sources said in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Modi made no compromises on the Pakistani proposal for holding talks, the sources said.

Khan announced in Pakistan Parliament that Abhinandan will be released on Friday as a peace gesture.

India mounted pressure on Pakistan through the international community, with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval holding talks with the US and other P-5 countries, the sources said.

The External Affairs Ministry also exerted pressure on Pakistan through the Arab world, they said.

Wing Commander Varthaman, flying a MiG -21 Bison fighter plane, was chasing Pakistani jets which transgressed into Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday and crossed over to PoK where his aircraft was shot down. He ejected safely and was taken to the custody by the Pakistani Army.