India ‘expects safe return of pilot’ captured by Pakistani forces

Wing Commander Abhinandan praises Pakistani military officials and calls them 'thorough gentlemen'

News Desk/reuters February 27, 2019
In a video, Wing Commander Abhinandan praises Pakistani military officials and calls them 'thorough gentlemen'. SCREENGRAB

NEW DELHI: India’s Ministry of External Affairs said on Wednesday it had told Pakistan’s acting high commissioner that New Delhi expected an immediate and safe return of a military pilot held by Islamabad.

Two Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft were shot down by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) from within friendly airspace earlier in the day.

Subsequently, IAF's Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by a local mob in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The Express Tribune confirms identity of captured Indian pilot

“It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody. India also expects his immediate and safe return,” the ministry said in a statement.

India also summoned Pakistan’s acting envoy to serve a diplomatic demarche.

Meanwhile, the captured pilot has lauded the Pakistan military for the commendable treatment and rescuing him from a mob after his fighter jet was downed.

He praised the military officials, calling them “thorough gentlemen” in a new video being shared on social media.

“Yes I have [been treated well] and I would like to put that on record and I will not change my statement if I go back to my country. Officers of Pakistan army looked after me very well. They are thorough gentlemen starting from the captain who rescued me from the mob and from the soldiers and thereafter the officers and the unit I was taken to. This is what (how) I would expect my army to behave (treat) us and I am very impressed with the Pakistani army,” he said.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) DG Major General Asif Ghafoor also shared the professional treatment Wing Commander Abhinandan was receiving during the captivity.

“There is only one pilot under Pakistan Army’s custody. Wing Comd Abhi Nandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics,” said the top military spokesperson on Twitter.


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