Pakistan on Friday released the captured Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman from custody. The IAF pilot crossed over into India as hundreds gathered to welcome him at the Attari Joint Check Post (JCP) on Friday. Wagah-Attari border lies 30-km from Amritsar City in Punjab.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the same in (Pakistan’s) National Assembly on Thursday in order to de-escalate the tension between the two nuclear-armed rivals, adding that it was a peace initiative from his country.
Wearing blue blazer and grey trousers, he crossed over into India from the Attari-Wagah border at 9:20 PM. He was handed over by the Pakistan Rangers to the BSF following paperwork.
Abhinandan was accompanied by an officer of the Pakistan Foreign Office and Indian Defence Attache Group Captain Joy Thomas Kurien.
Reading out a brief statement, Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, assistant chief of Air Staff, told a posse of reporters that the pilot will be taken for a detailed medical examination as he was subjected to lot of stress during his nearly three-day captivity.
“He will be taken for a detailed medical checkup. The officer has had to eject from a plane which would have put his body under immense strain,” said Kapoor.
After undergoing physical tests, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will undertake broad set of procedures.
Another step, which is usually not followed, but may apply in his case is another round of questioning by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).
“The Air Force intelligence do not usually hand their personnel for questioning to IB or R&AW. But his may be a different case,” the officer said.
“The most painful, yet mandatory step,” he added, “is debriefing to the IAF intelligence. We will have to find out what information was obtained from him during his captivity and ensure that he hasn’t been recruited by the other side.”
“The standard procedures have to be followed”, added the officer.