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Highlights: Nirmala Sitharaman meets IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman

By Anuj Cariappa
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New Delhi, Mar 02: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday met IAF Pilot Wing Commander, Abhinandan Varthaman in Delhi and conveyed to him that the entire nation is proud of his courage and determination, officials said.

During the meeting at a medical facility of the Indian Air Force, Varthaman is understood to have explained to Sitharaman details about his nearly 60 hour stay in Pakistan.

 IAF Pilot Wing Commander. PTI file photo

After a tense wait, IAF Pilot Wing Commander, Abhinandan Varthaman was finally handed over to India by Pakistan. He returned home via the Wagah border after spending nearly 60 hours in captivity.

There are several procedures that would have to be followed, which includes a medical test to gauge his fitnesses levels and also a de-briefing session.

The IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman spent nearly 60 hours in captivity. Abhinandan, dressed in a suit, walked across the Zero Line at the Attari-Wagah border at 9.20 pm, about four hours later he was reportedly scheduled to return. He was accompanied by Group Captain J T Kurien, Air Advisor in the Indian High Commission, and Fareeha Bugti, Director (India) in the Pakistan Foreign Office.

The release came a day after Pakistan PM Imran Khan, addressing a joint session of parliament, in a "gesture of peace" aimed at de-escalating tensions between the two nations announced the Indian pilot's return.

Here are the Highlights:

Newest First Oldest First
7:39 PM, 2 Mar
Meanwhile, in Jammu and Kashmir, General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, Army Commander, Northern Command visited White Knight Corps to review the operational preparedness of the forces in the Corps Zone in view of the current situation along LoC and International Border.
7:37 PM, 2 Mar
The government on Saturday issued an "alert" for all airports and airlines in the country, asking them to "enhance the existing security measures", as it has received intelligence inputs in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack and subsequent developments.
7:24 PM, 2 Mar
Pakistan will not allow its soil to be used for terrorism against any state, including India, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday as claimed that the "nerve centre" of the Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group has been taken over by the government.
6:37 PM, 2 Mar
ANI quoted Sources saysing that after returning from Pakistan, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has informed that though he was not physically tortured by the Pakistanis but went through a lot of mental harassment.
6:04 PM, 2 Mar
Pakistan was not under "pressure" or "any compulsion" to release Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said today.
6:04 PM, 2 Mar
The Wing Commander will stay at Air Force Officer's Mess.
5:59 PM, 2 Mar
India will keep up the pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terrorism infrastructure and the masterminds of terrorist attacks despite the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman following backchannel diplomacy and public messaging by global powers.
5:55 PM, 2 Mar
Acoording to reports, Pakistan said Abhinandan Varthman was handed over along with his belongings, however, all that he came back in civilian clothes, without his service pistol. In the taking over certificate, Pakistan has mentioned returning his watch, ring and spectacles. It was earlier learnt that upon ejecting out of his crashed MiG 21 Bison, Abhinandan still had his pistol with him, which he used to allegedly fire on locals in Pakistani territory who were chasing him.
5:48 PM, 2 Mar
Meanwhile, the chiefs of the Indian Air Force and Navy will get Z-plus security cover after a fresh assessment of their threat perception by the security agencies, officials said.
4:20 PM, 2 Mar
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthman in a hospital today. Courtesy: ANI
3:50 PM, 2 Mar
Samjhauta Express services to resume from India from March 3.
3:43 PM, 2 Mar
Congress President Rahul Gandhi at a rally in Ranchi, Jharkhand: Indian Air Force protects the country, Air force pilots sacrifice their lives but our Prime Minister steals money from the Air Force, and puts it in Anil Ambani's pockets, it is a shame.
3:01 PM, 2 Mar
According to IAF officials, Wing Cdr Abhinandan Varthaman met IAF Chief BS Dhanoa today morning and explained his detention in Pakistan. The Wing Commander will stay at Air Force Officer's Mess.
2:44 PM, 2 Mar
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh: Entire world stands together against terrorism. No representative of India used to be invited to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) but India's image has become such, that OIC invited India for the first time. It is a diplomatic victory.
2:20 PM, 2 Mar
Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM, says, "Pak PM talked of Tipu Sultan and Bahadur Shah Zafar in his assembly,Tipu Sultan wasn't enemy of Hindus but adversary of the enemies of his sultanate.He talks about atom bomb, it's weird..we've it too.Handle your Lashkar-e-Shaitaan & Jaish-e-Shaitaan.
1:53 PM, 2 Mar
Pakistan violated ceasefire in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district at 12:30 pm today. Indian Army is retaliating.
1:13 PM, 2 Mar
When our Air Force reached Balakot in KPK before we could get any information some people started saying Balakot is along LoC.Some people whom I call compulsive contrarians found a new Balakot and didn't check that, that Bala Kote is in our Poonch.Why'd our forces attack our territory?: Arun Jaitley
12:59 PM, 2 Mar
Mehbooba Mufti and PDP workers protest in Srinagar against the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami (Jammu & Kashmir) by the Central Government.
12:38 PM, 2 Mar
BSP Chief Mayawati said, " Hearty welcome safe return of IAF pilot Abhinandan from Pak custody. Big relief and ease of tension is natural but sensing a sea change in security scenario around, India must have a long, lasting & credible policy for its security-honour besides a good policy to deal with neighbours."
11:57 AM, 2 Mar
Referring to IAF Pilot's bravery, PM Modi said, " India has the ability to change the meaning of words. Abhinandan was till now ' Congratulations' in English, now the meaning will change."
11:57 AM, 2 Mar
Addressing a meet at Construction Technology India in Delhi, Prime Minister Modi said, " The world will notice whatever India does."
10:30 AM, 2 Mar
IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is at the central medical establishment, he spent the night there, underwent a medical test, met his family briefly, according to News 18.
10:16 AM, 2 Mar
Three members of family killed due to heavy shelling by Pakistan troops in Solatri village of border district of Poonch.
10:14 AM, 2 Mar
Meanwhile, shelling by Pakistan forces across LoC in Jammu continues, People in border areas of Rajouri, Poonch districts move to safer places; Schools closed, according to All India Radio News.
9:19 AM, 2 Mar
India has dug up contract details between the USA and Pakistan on the AMRAAM missile fired from an F-16 aircraft and is learnt to have shared the information with American interlocutors to bolster its case about misuse of the fighter aircraft against India, according to Indian Express report.
8:45 AM, 2 Mar
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released by Pakistan after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned the neighbouring country of dire consequences, former Karnataka chief minister and state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa said on Friday.
8:28 AM, 2 Mar
He would also have to undergo several phycological tests as he had been captured by the enemy and underwent a traumatic situation.
8:24 AM, 2 Mar
The IAF Pilot will be subject to a medical test today. He will be taken for a detained medical checkup. The officer had to eject from a plane, which would have put his body under immense strain, AVM RGK Kapoor said following the release.
3:01 AM, 2 Mar
Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman landed in Delhi on Friday night, hours after he was handed over to India by Pakistan after being in captivity for nearly three days.
10:12 PM, 1 Mar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets, "Welcome Home Wing Commander #Abhinandan! The nation is proud of your exemplary courage. Our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians. Vande Mataram!"
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