Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman meets IAF pilot Abhinandan in Delhi hospital

New Delhi: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday (March 2) visited Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman at a hospital in Delhi, where the Indian Air Force pilot had been taken last night for a medical check-up after his arrival in India from Pakistan.

As per media reports, Sitharaman told the pilot that the entire nation is proud of his courage and determination.

During the meeting at a medical facility of the Indian Air Force, Varthaman is understood to have explained to Sitharaman details about his nearly 60 hour stay in Pakistan.

Varthaman arrived in the national capital by an IAF flight around 11:45 PM on March 1, nearly two-and-half hours after he crossed over to India through the Attari-Wagah border.

Currently, he is undergoing medical tests at the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), a compact and specialised medical evaluation centre for aircrew of all the three services.

Abhinandan meets family

  • Abhinandan, who crossed the Wagah-Attari border post into India from Pakistan reportedly met with his family members on Friday evening.
  • The Wing Commander interacted with his family for a few minutes upon his arrival in Delhi late in the night.
  • He was also met by Air Force chief Air Marshal BS Dhanoa early on Saturday morning.

Abhinandan was captured by Pakistani authorities on February 27 after his MiG 21 Bison went down during a dogfight with Pakistani jets. But before his plane was hit, Varthaman shot down an F-16 of Pakistan air force.

When he crossed over to India on March 1 night, his right eye above his handlebar moustache appeared swollen.

After he was captured, Varthaman showed courage and grace in the most difficult circumstances for which he was praised by politicians, strategic affairs experts, ex-servicemen, celebrities and others.

Tensions between the two countries escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early Tuesday.

Pakistan retaliated the strike by carrying attempting to target Indian military installations on Wednesday. However, the IAF thwarted their plans.

The Indian strike on the JeM camp 12 days after the terror group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.