New Delhi:Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman Saturday briefly apprised Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa of the mental trauma he was subjected to during his nearly 60-hour captivity in Pakistan after he was caught following an aerial combat with Pakistani fighters on Wednesday, official sources said.
The IAF pilot was captured by the Pakistani military on Wednesday, after his fighter a MiG-21 Bison — was shot down during a dogfight with F-16 jets from the neighbouring country at a time of mounting tension between the two countries. Pakistani officials maintained that although Wing Commander Varthaman was initially assaulted by local residents upon parashooting into their territory, he was treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention after being taken into custody.
Initial photographs of the captured pilot showed him blindfolded and handcuffed by the Pakistani military in an injured condition. A video released later, however, had the pilot sipping tea and saying that his captors were treating him well.The videography process, however, was far from over. News agency PTI reported that just before the pilot was about to be released, he was forced to record a video statement praising the Pakistani military. The clip, which had the Wing Commander saying that the Pakistani Army saved him from the mob, is said to have delayed his handover by three hours.
After spending nearly 58 hours in the custody of the Pakistan Army, Wing Commander Abhinandan was repatriated to India late on Friday evening at the Wagah-Attari Border near Amritsar.