Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman's parents, who were on their way to receive their son, got a standing ovation as they boarded a flight from Chennai to Delhi on Friday. Abhinandan’s father – retired Air Marshal S Varthaman and mother Shobha Varthaman took a Chennai-Delhi flight on Wednesday morning to receive their son who will arrive at Attari-Wagah border in Punjab.
Wing Commander Abhinandan, who was captured by Pakistan Army on Wednesday, is likely to return home. He was taken into custody by Pakistan Army after his aircraft was fell down following a dogfight with Pakistan Air Force jets. Following India's demand for Abhinandan's immediate release, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that the IAF pilot will be handed over to India as a "gesture of peace".
"Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will cross the border today. Can't tell you exact time since there are certain formalities. A senior Indian Air Force team from Delhi is here, they will be the ones to receive him," said Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon.
On February 26, India had carried out air strikes against the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot in response to the terrorist attack in Pulwama, in which over 40 Indian soldiers were killed.
In the operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for suicide attacks were eliminated. The facility at Balakot was headed by Yousuf Azhar, the brother-in-law of the JeM chief. Pakistan also accepted that Indian Air Force planes entered its territory but denied that they struck JeM camp.