Wednesday, 22 May 2019
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Indian pilot released by Pakistan rejoins his fighting squadron

NEW DELHI: A JF-17 fighter jet was reportedly shot down on 27 February by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman before he was captured by Pakistani forces in a dogfight between Indian and Pakistani jets.

He was released under the Geneva Convention rules. Given a period of leave to spend time with his family, he opted to go back to his combat posting.

Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has returned to his squadron in Kashmir barely a month after he purportedly shot down a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet and was taken captive after his own MiG-21 Bison crashed on Pakistani soil on 27 February during the first air clash between the two nuclear-armed nations in the last five decades.

He was subsequently released and returned to India two days after his capture.

Official sources told Indian news agency PTI that Abhinandan had preferred to stay with his squadron in Srinagar rather than going to his family home in Chennai, southern India even though he was officially on leave.

The IAF pilot was asked to go on leave around 12 days ago when security agencies completed a two-week debriefing after his return from Pakistan.

“Abhinandan Varthaman could have gone to his family home in Chennai to spend time with his parents. But he chose to go to Srinagar where his squadron is based”, the sources said.

He was advised to rest and stay with family after his medical tests.

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