IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman returns to India

Attari (Punjab): IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistanis two days ago after his MiG-21 crashed in Pakistani territory, returned to India on Friday night.

Dressed in a blue coat, grey trousers and white shirt, he was received warmly by senior Border Security Force (BSF) officers at Zero Line that marks the India-Pakistan land border.

After the Pakistan Rangers escorted him till the border gates, one BSF officer put his arm around the Indian Air Force officer and led him away, apparently for handing him over to the IAF officials.

The air force officer looked calm as he waited for a while close to the border in Pakistani territory along with Indian High Commission officials from Islamabad and Pakistan Rangers before getting the final okay for him to cross over to India.

The capture of Wg Cdr Abhinandan on Wednesday in Pakistani-administered Kashmir led to strong demands from New Delhi that he be handed over to India immediately and unharmed.