Air Chief Marshall B. S Dhanoa addressing the media in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu said that the medical fitness of IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman would be the decisive factor of his flying.
He said, "Whether he flies again or not it will be depended on his medical fitness. That's why post ejection he went on a medical check, thereafter whatever treatment is required we will give it to him. Once he gets his medical fitness then only he will get into a fighter cockpit."
IAF chief further elaborated on the fitness of the pilot and the consequences of ejecting.
He said, "If he's fit he will go back to the same unit, we don't change units. It depends basically on doctors. I have also ejected, it is something that takes a toll on your body and if you are not perfectly fit and god forbid if you have to eject again, you will be spending the rest of your life on a wheelchair. We don't take a chance with the fitness of the pilot, the medical rejection when we select people is very very high because the physical condition, the curvature of the spine has to be very good."
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Sunday underwent debriefings by security agencies even as his medical check up continued for the second day at a military hospital in New Delhi, officials said.
A number of senior Indian Air Force (IAF) officials also met Varthaman who was brought to Delhi after he returned to India from Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border late Friday night.
"The efforts have been to ensure that he returns to the cockpit soon," a military official said.
The IAF pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army on Wednesday after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat. He downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan before his plane was hit.
Varthaman arrived in the national capital by an IAF flight at around 11:45 pm March 1, nearly two-and-half hours after he crossed over to India through the Attari-Wagah border.
The IAF pilot was first taken to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), a compact and specialised medical evaluation centre for aircrew of all the three services. Later he was brought to the Army's Research and Referral hospital.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa met Varthaman separately on Saturday during which he apprised them about the mental trauma he was subjected to during his captivity in Pakistan.
(With ANI inputs)