Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir): In an undated video that has gone viral on the Internet, defence personnel and colleagues gather around Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, as the IAF pilot who was captured and held captive in Pakistan earlier this year, interacts with them.
In the 119 second video, Abhinandan can be seen being “mobbed” by colleagues for a photograph and the fighter pilot happily obliges them with selfies and photographs.
Army and Air Force personnel are heard shouting “Bharat Mara ki Jai” and the pilot also joins them in raising the slogan.
“I will tell you why I clicked so many pictures with you. This is not for you but for your family. I could not meet them personally but when you show these photographs to him, tell them ‘All the Best’ from my side. Several people were praying for me to get well and your family members were also amongst them,” Abhinandan says to armed forces personnel surrounding him.
There is a round of applause for him after this to which he responds, “Thank You very much”.
Abhinandan rose to fame when he shot a F-16 fighter jet of the Pakistani Air Force by a MiG-21 during an aerial battle on February 27. The battle occurred after PAF tried to attack Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir in retaliation to IAF bombing terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot a day earlier.
The Pakistani attack was foiled by the timely action of the Indian Air Force.
During the aerial battle, Abhinandan’s jet too was hit. He tried to eject but his parachute crossed over to PoK. The IAF officer was taken in custody by the Pakistani Army.
Under immense pressure from India and several other countries of the world, Pakistan released Wing Commander Abhinandan 60 hours later.
He returned to India by Wagah border. He was hospitalised in Delhi’s Army hospital and last month, IAF shifted Abhinandan to a Western Air Base from Srinagar due to security concerns.
— ANI (@ANI) May 4, 2019