Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, after his return from Pakistan, received a king's welcome by his countrymen. As per the process, he had to go through two weeks of debriefing with officials of IAF. The brave pilot also spent three weeks of medical leaves, during which he chose to stay with teammates in Srinagar rather than spend time with his parents in Chennai. However, his base was later shifted from there, due to security reasons. As he resumed work, he paid a visit to his former colleagues, all of whom lined up for selfies!
The love must have been overwhelming. We saw Abhinandan, with a broad smile on his face, obliging to his colleagues' requests. It is in moments like these that a 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' chant brings so many emotions! The workers were also heard raising slogans for IAF. What a bright day for the IAF's Jammu and Kashmir squad!
"All these photographs are not for you but for your families I could not meet. All of you and your families prayed for my health and I want to thank them all," he said after the selfie episode came to an end.
Abhinandan, who was flying a MiG-21, had his aircraft shot down during a clash with Pakistan Air Force jets, one day after an air strike was reportedly carried out from India's end Balakot. He spent a couple of days in custody of the neighbouring country before he was handed back to India on 1st March. He was admitted to the Army's Research and Referal Hospital in New Delhi for a brief period and was treated for his injuries, before returning to his Srinagar squadron.