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Experts discuss Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's return to India

Updated : March 01, 2019 08:58 PM IST

A delegation of IAF team will on Friday receive Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistan during aerial combat, at the Wagah border, official sources said.

Varthaman's MiG 21 was shot and he bailed out after bringing down one Pakistani F-16 fighter during a dogfight to repel a Pakistani attack on Wednesday morning. He has been in Pakistan since then.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced in Parliament on Thursday that Varthaman would be released on Friday as a "peace gesture".

Tensions between the two countries escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's (JeM) biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early Tuesday. It came 12 days after the JeM claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.

A team of Indian Air Force officials will receive Wing Commander Abhinandan at the Wagah border on Friday evening, the sources said. It is not clear whether Varthaman will be handed over to the International Red Cross or to the Indian authorities by Pakistan. India on Wednesday demanded the immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, experts discussed the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan and the road ahead for Indo-Pak relationship.
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