IAF to receive Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman at Wagah border post on Friday


New Delhi: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who is expected to be released by Pakistan on Friday, will be received by a delegation of the Indian Air Force at the Wagah border. Varthaman has been in Pakistan’s captivity since Wednesday after his MiG 21 was shot and he bailed out during a dogfight to repel an attack by the neighbouring country.

The Border Security Force (BSF) has not yet been communicated the exact time and sequence regarding the release of the captured IAF pilot, said official sources. It is also not clear whether Varthaman will be handed over to the International Red Cross or to the Indian authorities by Pakistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had on Thursday announced to return Varthaman, as a peace gesture. The IAF, however, claimed that the move was ‘no goodwill gesture, but in consonance with the Geneva Conventions’.

Tensions between the two countries escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early on Tuesday. It came 12 days after the JeM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.