Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here on Thursday expressed his desire to receive Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Varthaman Abhinandan after he is freed on Friday.
The 35-year-old Wing Commander was captured by Pakistan on Wednesday after his MiG fell in Pakistani territory during an aerial dogfight.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday the captured IAF pilot will be freed as a "goodwill gesture" on Friday after New Delhi sought his unconditional, immediate and unharmed release.
"Dear @narendramodi ji, I'm touring the border areas of Punjab & I'm presently in Amritsar. Came to know that @pid_gov has decided to release #AbhinandanVartaman from Wagha. It will be an honour for me to go and receive him, as he and his father are alumnus of the NDA as I am," Singh said in a tweet.
Dear @narendramodi ji , I’m touring the border areas of Punjab & I’m presently in Amritsar. Came to know that @pid_gov has decided to release #AbhinandanVartaman from Wagha. It will be a honour for me to go and receive him, as he and his father are alumnus of the NDA as I am.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) February 28, 2019
The IAF pilot is likely to be released by Pakistan through the Wagah-Attari joint check-post, around 30 km from Amritsar.
Singh had earlier welcomed Imran Khan's announcement as "a goodwill gesture that would help ease the prevailing tensions at the border."
The Chief Minister is presently touring the border villages in Punjab, which share border with Pakistan.
Singh has also extended all support on behalf of his government to the Border Security Force (BSF) to deal with the current situation in the aftermath of the IAF air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp at Balakot in Pakistan in the wee hours of Tuesday.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday welcomed Pakistan's offer to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
Meanwhile, the United States on Thursday also welcomed Pakistan's decision to release the captured Indian Air Force pilot.
"We welcome Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment that Pakistan will release on Friday the Indian pilot held in its custody," a State Department spokesperson told PTI responding to a question on the announcement made by Khan in the Pakistani parliament.
(With inputs from agencies)