India's first mission to Mars - the ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) - that has completed four years orbiting the red planet has tweeted its welcome for IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who returned to India on Friday night.
The mission, launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on November 5, 2013, successfully placed itself into Martian orbit on September 24, 2014 in its first attempt. The tweet hailing the heroic IAF pilot said: "We are proud of you #WingCommandarAbhinandan."
The Indian Air Force pilot had fallen into Pakistan's clutches after his MIG-21 Bison shot and brought down a Pak F-16 as the Indian Air Force sent a 24-strong Pakistan Air Force jet-fighter formation packing, foiling the belligerent nation's attempt to attack India in retribution for the precision strike India had conducted on Pakistan's terror factories along the LoC on Tuesday morning.
The Indian government put enormous pressure on Pakistan for his release, and found support from a number of countries.
A dossier was also sent by the Indian government in this regard to Pakistan, in which an ultimatum was given to Imran Khan's government demanding 'safe and immediate' return of the Indian Air Force pilot.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an oblique yet clear reference to IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan while addressing the Construction Technology India 2019 conference in New Delhi, a day after India's heroic pilot returned to the country after two days in Pakistan's custody.
He said: "This is certain, whatever India will do, the world will watch closely. This country has strength, it changes dictionary meanings of words. Once upon a time Abhinandan used to mean congratulations, now Abhinandan's meaning will change. That strength exists in this country. Come, let us take that self-confidence forward - we have to move forward as a courageous (parakrami) country, and to fulfill our dreams, we have to take timely steps, one by one, the government is with you.