Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

First VIDEO of freed Indian pilot emerges online

Pakistan partially re-opens airspace, ready to hand over Indian pilot Kashmir: Pakistan readies to hand over Indian pilot
Patty Aguilar | 02 March, 2019, 06:00

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman crossed the Wagah-Attari border at around 9pm local time (1600 GMT) on Friday, hours later than expected and sporting a black eye.

On the Indian side of the border, Indian policemen and military personnel greeted Varthaman who was dressed in civilian clothes, wearing a blue blazer and gray dress trousers.

The pilot released on Friday by Pakistani authorities was shot down in a subsequent air exercise by Indian military, held on Wednesday.

Briefing the media, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor said: "Abhinandan has just been handed over to us".

On Friday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the release of Varthaman, terming his decision "a peace gesture".

Abhinandan was captured by the Pakistan Army after his fighter jet crashed in an air duel with a Pakistani F-16. He successfully ejected himself but drifted towards the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

In her remarks at the gathering, Swaraj clearly criticized Pakistan, an OIC member.

As Pakistan prepared to hand over the captured Indian pilot, blistering cross-border attacks across the disputed Himalayan Kashmir region continued for a fourth straight day, even as the two nuclear-armed neighbours seek to defuse the most serious confrontation in two decades.

Tensions escalated rapidly following a suicide auto bombing that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir on February 14.

Clad in his uniform, the IAF officer further claimed in the video statement that he was in search of a target when his fighter jet was hit by Pakistan Air Force.

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Since the escalation, world leaders have scrambled to head off an all-out war between the archrivals.

Returning the Indian pilot was useful in building worldwide image but, he opined, the gesture would not affect Indian calculations regarding escalating or de-escalating tensions. The Pakistan Air Force could have caused much greater surprise but restrained itself because it only aimed at dissuading India from any future misadventure, he said.

"Welcome Home! The entire Nation is proud of Wing Commander Abhinandan", posted Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh soon after the pilot - wearing a blue blazer and grey pants - joined officials on the Indian side. "But we will have to wait and see".

"Pakistan wants peace, but it should not be treated as our weakness", Khan said. However, the eastern side airports - Lahore, Multan, Sialkot, Faisalabab and Bahawalpur - will remain closed till March 4. It divided the Indian subcontinent into a predominantly Hindu India and mostly Muslim Pakistan.

A pilot detained by Pakistani authorities after his plane was shot down over the disputed Kashmir region has been released.

BJP president Amit Shah also expressed relief over the return of a person who, over the last two days, had acquired the status of a hero across the country.

Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir said one man was wounded and at least two civilian homes were damaged in the cross-border shelling.

Both India and Pakistan claim all of Kashmir but each only control part of it.

In the war of 1971, when the two countries fought over the liberation of Bangladesh, India had taken over 90,000 prisoners of war including many security personnel.

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