"It is good to be back in my country," was the first reaction of IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman as he set his foot back on Indian soil. This was stated by an official quoting Varthaman after he received the pilot at the Attari-Wagah border soon after his release by Pakistan. Varthaman was captured by Pakistani authorities on February 27 after an air combat between the air forces of the two countries, a day after New Delhi had conducted counter-terror operations in Pakistan's Balakot.
"We are happy to have him back," said a top IAF officer shortly after Varthaman was handed over to Indian authorities. Reading out a brief statement, Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, assistant chief of Air Staff, told a posse of reporters that the pilot will be taken for a detailed medical examination as he was subjected to lot of stress during his nearly three-day captivity.
"He will be taken for a detailed medical checkup. The officer has had to eject from a plane which would have put his body under immense strain," said Kapoor. The Air Vice Marshal did not take any question from the media.