Lucknow: Remaining firm on his stance on Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman joining the Air Force during the UPA government, Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid clarified that he was only “stating the truth” and not “taking credit”.
“I did not say the attack happened during my tenure, I had said that the person who attacked was commissioned in the Air Force during our tenure. I had only stated the truth. I did not take credit,” he told ANI.
A day ahead, Khurshid had tweeted “Many kudos for Wing Commander Abhi Varthaman the face of India’s resistance to enemy aggression. Great poise and confidence in face of adversity. We are proud that he received his wings in 2004 and matured as fighter pilot during UPA” and faced backlash for the same.
On February 27, the MiG 21 Bison which was being flown by Abhinandan was chasing Pakistani F-16 fighters which had transgressed into the Indian airspace, and in the process, was shot down after it crossed over to the Pakistani side.
Abhinandan ejected safely but was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army upon landing.
Before his plane was shot, he had hit a Pakistani F-16.
On March 1, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the release of Varthaman, calling it a “peace gesture”.
India used diplomatic and military pressure to ensure that Pakistan releases Varthaman unconditionally, top sources in New Delhi said.
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 added.