Ahead of Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman's homecoming from Pakistan, the Beating the Retreat ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border has been cancelled for the day, according to reports. Briefing the media on the development, Deputy Commissioner Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, Amritsar, said the Beating the Retreat ceremony at Attari-Wagah Border will not be held today, adding that Senior team of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will receive the Wing Commander this afternoon.
Pakistan Prime Minster Imran Khan on Thursday announced their decision to release the wing commander as a gesture of peace and the "first step" to open negotiations with India. The development came after India on Wednesday summoned the acting high commissioner of Pakistan and demanded immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot who was detained by Pakistan following an aerial engagement by air forces of the two countries.
As per the latest reports, Varthaman will return to India via Attari-Wagah border by this afternoon. A delegation of IAF officers along with Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will receive the Wing Commander on Friday.
Deputy Commissioner Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, Amritsar: The Beating the Retreat ceremony (at Attari-Wagah Border) will not be held today. Senior team of the Indian Air Force will receive Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman. pic.twitter.com/n40CcJX7H6— ANI (@ANI) March 1, 2019
On recieving Abhinandan, Amarinder Singh said, "Would love to go to receive Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman but there's laid out protocol whenever anybody comes back like happened to Prisoners of war in '65 and '71, they had to first go for medical and then be debriefed".
Early in the day, all eyes were on Varthaman's parents - Air Marshal (retired) S Varthaman and Dr Shobha Varthaman - as they were given a standing ovation in a Chennai-Delhi flight. They were on their way to the national capital to receive Abhinandan from the Attari-Wagah border this afternoon. In a show of respect, passengers made way for them ensuring that the couple gets off first.
The Beating the Retreat ceremony is the continuation of the century-old military tradition when the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield and returned to the camps at sunset with the sounding of the Retreat.