Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman (File Photo)
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was held captive for around 60 hours in Pakistan after being captured during a dogfight on February 27, chose to go back to his squadron in Srinagar during his four-week sick leave, instead of spending time with his family in Chennai.
After his two-week-long debriefing and medical treatment, the brave IAF pilot was advised to go on sick leave for at least three weeks before resuming duty.
“During his sick leave, the officer had the option of going to his family home in Chennai where his parents live but he decided to go back to Srinagar where his squadron is deployed for operations,” ANI quoted IAF sources as saying.
“At the moment, the officer has decided to stay with his men and machines in Srinagar and would be required to come back from New Delhi for a review medical board which will decide on his fitness for flying fighter planes,” they added.
He was captured by Pakistani authorities on February 27 after his MiG 21 Bison went down during a dogfight with Pakistani jets. But before his plane was hit, Varthaman shot down an F-16 of Pakistan air force.
After he was captured, Varthaman showed courage and grace in the most difficult circumstances for which he was praised by politicians, strategic affairs experts, ex-servicemen, celebrities and others.
A video circulated on social media that he was badly beaten up by a group of people after being rescued by Pakistani security personnel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the return of Varthaman, saying the nation is proud of his exemplary courage.
Tensions between the two countries escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan early Tuesday.
Pakistan retaliated the strike by carrying attempting to target Indian military installations on Wednesday. However, the IAF thwarted their plans.
The Indian strike on the JeM camp 12 days after the terror group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.