Wing Commander Abhinandan to return through Wagah border, say reports
New Delhi, Mar 1 (IBNS): Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan two days ago, might return to India through the Wagah border, media reports said. Pakistan earlier announced to release the pilot as what it called a peace gesture amid global pressures on the neighbour to conform to international laws.
Media reports said Pakistan has rejected India's request to send him back in an IAF (Indian Air Force) plane and instead decided to send him through the border.
According to Pakistan's Dawn quoting sources, the captured Indian pilot will be released at around 3 pm.
Indian authorities have been formally informed of Pakistan's decision to release captured Indian Air Force officer, Wing Commander Abhinandan at around 3pm, sources within the Foreign Office told DawnNewsTV.
Acting Indian High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia on Friday visited the FO to fulfill formalities ahead of the Indian pilot's repatriation, it said.
Indian Air Attaché Group Captain J.T. Krain has left for Lahore with travel documents of the pilot. He will escort the pilot back to India, sources added, said Dawn.
India-Pak tension and a captured pilot:
Amid escalating tension between India and Pakistan, Abhinandan was taken into custody on Wednesday after his MiG-21 jet was downed during an engagement along the Line of Control (LoC).
After India refused to sit across the table with Pakistan, its Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced Abhinandan's return to the Indian soil.
Khan said Pakistan will release the pilot as a "gesture of peace".
Senior Air Force officer Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor told media persons here on Thursday that the release of pilot Wg Cdr Abhinandan is happening "in consonance with Geneva Convention".
Abhinandan's MiG 21 was shot after he actually also brought down one Pakistani F-16 fighter on Feb 27.
India had insisted that there should be immediate and safe return of the pilot.
Abhidandan was captivated a day after India claimed it had conducted a surgical strike on Feb 26 across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), something which has been denied by Pakistan.
On Feb 27, Pakistan claimed it had launched a retaliatory raid trying to target Indian defence facilities in Jammu and Kashmir.
Image Credit: UNI