Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinadan Varthaman will walk back to India through Wagah border near Punjab's Amritsar tomorrow. Abhinandan was captured by Pakistani troops on Wednesday after his jet MiG-21 crashed during an aerial combat with Pak F-16 plane in Indian air space.
On his return journey, the second-generation IAF pilot will be accompanied by India's air attache to Pakistan Group Captain JD Kurian, sources have said.
Abhinandan comes from a family of IAF veterans. While his father, S Varthaman served as an Air Marshall during the Kargil War, his grandfather participated in second World War for IAF under British rule.
Reacting to the news of his son's capture and viral videos of his captivity, Abhinandan's father said that he was proud of him.
"I thank God for his blessings, Abhi is alive, not injured, sound in mind, just look at the way he talked so bravely...a true soldier...we are so proud of him," his father said.
Abhinandan's safe return was announced by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan during a joint session of Parliament in Islamabad. Imran Khan said the IAF pilot's release was a peace gesture from his side and he hopes to de-escalate tensions between the two nations.
Tensions have been running high between India and Pakistan after a suicide attacker rammed a bomb-laden car into the CRPF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar highway near Pulwama on February 14, killing 40 bravehearts. The attack was claimed by Pak-based terror organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed.
In the subsequent days, India flew 12 Mirage 2000 jets into Pakistani air space and decimated JeM's biggest terror training camp in Balakot, located in Khyber Pashtun region of the neighbouring nation.
A day later, Pakistani jets tried and failed to attack Indian military installations in retaliatory strikes. In the aerial combat that followed, India shot down one of their F-16 jet, while losing one MiG-21. The lost jet's pilot had ejected but unfortunately, his parachute landed in Pakistan-occupied territory and was captured by locals.