Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman underwent debriefings by security agencies along with continued medical check up for the second day at a military hospital in New Delhi. The IAF pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army on Wednesday after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during an aerial combat. He downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan before his plane was hit.
Wing Commander Varthaman was debriefed by the security agencies and it will continue for the next couple of days. He also underwent several medical tests as part of a cooling down process, officials said. "The efforts have been to ensure that he returns to the cockpit soon," a military official said.
A number of senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officials also met Varthaman who was brought to Delhi after he returned to India from Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border late Friday night.
Varthaman arrived in the national capital by an IAF flight at around 11:45 pm Friday, nearly two-and-half hours after he crossed over to India through the Attari-Wagah border. The IAF pilot was first taken to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), a compact and specialised medical evaluation centre for aircrew of all the three services. Later he was brought to the Army's Research and Referral hospital.
After he was captured, Varthaman showed courage and grace in handling the most difficult circumstances for which he was praised by politicians, strategic affairs experts, ex-servicemen, celebrities and people in general.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa met Varthaman separately on Saturday during which he apprised them about the mental trauma he was subjected to during his captivity in Pakistan. During the meeting, the defence minister commended him on his valour and expressed the nation's gratitude for his selfless service. The officials said Varthaman has been in high spirits despite the harassment he suffered in Pakistan.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp near Balakot, deep inside Pakistan early Tuesday. Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations on Wednesday. However, the IAF thwarted their plans. The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.