Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted Indian Air Force Wing CommanderÂ Abhinandan Varthaman on Twitter as the fighter pilot, who was captured by Pakistan on February 27, reached India via Attari-Wagah border on Friday. "Welcome Home Wing Commander Abhinandan! The nation is proud of your exemplary courage. Our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians. Vande Mataram!," Modi tweeted on Friday night soon afterÂ Abhinandan was handed over to India by Pakistan.Â
Earlier in the day, Modi hailed Abhinandan Varthaman, saying every Indian was proud of him and lashed out at political rivals for suspecting the armed forces which, he said, helped Pakistan. After inaugurating several government projects, Modi said "I am proud that India's first woman Defence Mininster Nirmala ji is from Tamil Nadu. Every Indian is proud that the brave wing commander Abhinandan belongs to Tamil Nadu."Â Â Â
"It has also brought our nation closer," the prime minister said, an obvious pointer to the outpouring of support to Abhinandan and India's armed forces from the people.
Welcome Home Wing Commander Abhinandan!â€” Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 1, 2019
The nation is proud of your exemplary courage.
Our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians.
Pakistan had detained him following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control when his MiG 21 fighter jet was downed on February 27. "Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been handed over to us. He will now be taken for a detailed medical checkup because he had to eject from an aircraft. The IAF is happy to have him back," said Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor at Attari-Wagah border.Â
India on Wednesday summoned the acting high commissioner of Pakistan and demanded immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot who was detained by Pakistan following an aerial engagement by air forces of the two countries. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing a special joint sitting of the parliament on Thursday announced that Pakistan will release the pilot.