New Delhi: The debriefing of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan and returned to India last month, has been completed by the Indian Air Force and other agencies and he is going on sick leave for a few weeks now, news agency ANI reported, quoting sources in the Indian Air Force.
The 35-year-old pilot was captured by Pakistani forces on February 27 after an air combat between the Indian Air Force and the Pakistani Air Force, the first in nearly half a century.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated last month after a suicide bombing attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group that killed 40 soldiers.
India then carried out “non-military, pre-emptive” air strikes on a Jaish terror training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26.
The next day, after an aerial combat between the two countries, the Indian Force Pilot was captured. His MiG -21 Bison fighter plane was shot down when he was chasing Pak jets in Jammu and Kashmir and crossed over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). He ejected safely and was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army.
He was released two days later by Pakistan amid global pressure. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called it a “gesture of peace” but India turned down his offer to hold a dialogue.
Wing Commander Abhinandan returned to India on March 1 to a hero’s welcome. Sources in the IAF had said he was subjected to a lot of mental harassment by Pakistan military authorities, though he was not physically tortured.
A decision on when Wing Commander Abhinandan can resume his operations as a fighter pilot will be taken by a medical board in near future, sources said. The doctors at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital have advised the Indian Air Force Pilot to go on a leave after the debriefing.