Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday paid a visit to the Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in the National Capital, a day after the braveheart returned home after being in Pakistan army's custody for two days.
She 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, Wing Commander Varthaman is understood to have explained to Sitharaman details about his nearly 60 hour stay in Pakistan.
The Defence Minister was among the first to tweet after the IAF pilot made his way back to his homeland. In a couple of messages, the Raksha Mantri on Friday summed up the mood of the nation following the safe return of Wing Commander Abhinandan.
The IAF pilot, who fell inside the Pakistan territory after his jet was shot during the air battle between the Indian Air Force and Pakistan Air Force, was detained by Pakistan government on Wednesday. It came about after three Pakistani F-16s infiltrated the Indian airspace and tried to target the military establishments.
Following strong diplomatic action by the Indian government, which resulted in global pressure mounting on Pakistan, the Imran Khan government was forced to release the IAF pilot. Wing Commander Abhinandan returned to India through the Wagah-Attari border on Friday night just two days after he blocked Pakistan's efforts to attack Indian army facilities along Jammu and Kashmir.
"It is good to be back in my country," was the first reaction of the IAF pilot as he set his foot back on Indian soil. This was stated by an official quoting Varthaman after he received the pilot at the Attari-Wagah border soon after his release by Pakistan.
After the IAF pilot stepped his foot on the Indian soil, he was rushed to the Amritsar airport, from which he was flown to Delhi. The mood among the citizens in Delhi was celebratory, and they gave Wing Commander Abhinandan an electrifying welcome at the Palam airport, from where he was taken to the medical facility for examination.