Making a reference to Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the meaning of 'Abhinandan has now changed'. He was addressing the Construction Technology India 2019 conference in New Delhi, a day after the IAF pilot returned to the country after two days in Pakistan's custody.
This is what the prime minister said:"This is certain, whatever India will do, the world will watch closely. This country has strength, it chances 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."
"It is good to be back in my country," was the first reaction of IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman 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. Varthaman was captured by Pakistani authorities on February 27 after an air combat between the air forces of the two countries, a day after New Delhi had conducted counter-terror operations in Pakistan's Balakot.
"We are happy to have him back," said a top IAF officer shortly after Varthaman was handed over to Indian authorities. Reading out a brief statement, Air Vice Marshal R G K Kapoor, assistant chief of Air Staff, told a posse of reporters that the pilot will be taken for a detailed medical examination as he was subjected to lot of stress during his nearly three-day captivity.
"He will be taken for a detailed medical checkup. The officer has had to eject from a plane which would have put his body under immense strain," said Kapoor. The Air Vice Marshal did not take any question from the media.
(With PTI inputs)