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Wing Commander Abhinandan returns: What takes place in a de-briefing system


New Delhi, Mar 02: After several tense moments and plenty of theatrics by Pakistan, IAF Pilot, Wing Commander, Abhinandan Varthaman finally set foot on Indian soil.

Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman (C) as he is released by Pakistan authorities at Wagah border on the Pakistani side

There are a long list of procedures that await him before he can return to flying once again. Upon his return, he was greeted with a warm welcome by the officials, following which he was flown to New Delhi.

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Air Marshal (retd) B K Pandey explains to OneIndia the procedures that are involved while dealing with a prisoner of war and also, how long it would take before Abhinandan would fly the fighter again.

"First of all let me say that it is a great achievement to have shot down an F-16. The Wing Commander was flying the vintage MiG-21 Bison and to have shot down an F-16, perceived to be far superior is in itself a great achievement. It only reflect on the capability of the pilot and the weapon system."

"The first list of procedures include a medical test. There would be several of them. There is no such thing as a cooling off period in such cases and if declared medically fit, then he can start flying immediately. There is no hard and fast rule about how long a PoW has to wait before he can start flying again."

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B K Pandey says that a lot would depend on his condition. Remember, he had ejected from the aircraft. Such things do cause an injury. It can sometimes take a toll on the spine and there have been some cases in the past, where the pilot has never flown a fighter after that, he also explains.

There would be a thorough de-briefing that would be undertaken after the medical tests are done. He would give his side of the story, following which the full picture would be developed. The entire sequence of events would be re-created and several officials, including those from the intelligence would be involved in it. After all the entire system is oriented towards understanding the enemy, B K Pandey also says.

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