Attari-Wagah, India: During the first 24 hours of his captivity in Pakistan, IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman kept the Pakistani interrogators at bay while they attempted to extract critical information from him regarding high-security radio frequencies, Indian troop deployment and sensitive logistics, said a senior officer debriefing the 35-year-old fighter pilot. Wing Commander’s MiG-21 Bison was shot down in a dogfight over the Line of Control.
According to the official, Varthaman was deprived of sleep, choked and even physically assaulted by Pakistani captors.
Was forced to stand for long hours, subjected to loud music
He was forced to stand for long hours and subjected to loud music to add to his discomfort and confusion, the official said, requesting anonymity.
“The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) questioned him, but he was mostly in custody of the Pakistan Army,” he said. “No medical treatment was provided to him in the initial hours after ejection,” the officer said.
“Pakistan tried to extract information regarding Indian deployment.”
The official added that Varthaman held back as Pakistani officers tried to extract information from him about the frequencies that the IAF uses to transmit messages, deployment of fighter jets and logistical arrangements.
“All Indian fighter pilots are taught to hold back for as long as possible when captured, so that transmitting frequencies and deployments can be changed in the first 24 hours to deny the adversary any advantage. Wing Commander Abhinandan did exactly that,” the officer said.
The Indian fighter pilot has been feted as a hero for the dignity he maintained during interrogations by Pakistani officers in videotaped conversations shared on social media. The officer quoted above said the India Air Force officer was constantly moved around.