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Updated January 9th, 2024 at 23:03 IST

What India Really Did to Get Back Abhinandan From Imran Khan: Insider Reveals

In an exclusive interview with Republic TV, Bisaria shed light on the events that transpired after the Balakot strikes, emphasizing India's resolute stance.

Reported by: Isha Bhandari
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New Delhi: In a significant revelation, Ajay Bisaria, former Indian envoy to Pakistan during the 2019 Balakot airstrike, provided insights into India's coercive diplomacy that compelled Pakistan to return Indian Air Force fighter pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. 

In an exclusive interview with Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, Bisaria shed light on the events that transpired after the Balakot strikes, emphasizing India's resolute stance to secure Abhinandan's release.

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Republic Editor in Chief questioned Bisaria on the specifics of India's efforts to repatriate Abhinandan Varthaman. Bisaria responded, stating that “India's coercive diplomacy was effectively exercised, emphasizing the clarity of India's stand – the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman”.

He highlighted that “not returning the pilot would have led to escalation”, and India's unwavering position showcased the “successful use of coercive diplomacy against Pakistan.”

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Former Indian Envoy to Pakistan Recounts India’s Resolute Demand For Abhinandan’s Return 

The former envoy recounted the crucial period after the Balakot strikes, underlining the resolute demand for Abhinandan's return. 

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Bisaria described the Wing Commander Abhinandan episode as a demonstration of India's diplomatic might and criticized Pakistan for displaying "vulgar machismo" when they captured the pilot.

Bisaria emphasized that India had made it unequivocally clear that the pilot must be returned, and any failure to comply would result in escalation. 

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Closed-Door Meeting Among Pakistani Leaders 

He mentioned a closed-door meeting among Pakistani leaders, revealing that Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the Pakistan Foreign Minister, appeared nervous during discussions.

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India's policymakers remained steadfast in their demand for the pilot's return, and Bisaria indicated that members of the Pakistan Parliament later disclosed details of the meeting, indicating anxiety among Pakistani leaders. 

The former envoy added that India's coercion strategy was successful in securing Abhinandan Varthaman's release, preventing a potential escalation between the two nations.

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Published January 9th, 2024 at 22:33 IST

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