IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman faced 'mental harassment' in Pakistan, says source

New Delhi: A day after his return from Pakistan, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Saturday informed the top brass of Indian Air Force (IAF) that he was subjected to a lot of mental harassment, though he was not physically tortured by Pakistan military authorities, said a source.

 IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman faced mental harassment in Pakistan, says source

IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released by Pakistan authorities at Wagah border. PTI

The wing commander was also medically examined, considering the fact that he had ejected after his MiG 21 was shot down in PoK air space while chasing Pakistani fighter planes which had transgressed into Indian air space on 27 February. Before his plane was shot, he had hit a Pakistani F-16. Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa met Varthaman at the Army RR Hospital.

During a separate meeting with the Air Chief, Varthaman briefed him about his detention in Pakistan, officials said. Varthaman was expected to be debriefed by the IAF on his detention in Pakistan, which is yet to take place. After a delay of over five hours, Varthaman stepped on the Indian soil through Wagah border, Amritsar in Punjab, on Friday night at 9.20 pm. He was in the custody of Pakistan Army since Wednesday when his parachute drifted and fell inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

On Wednesday, Abhinandan was chasing Pakistani F-16 fighters which had transgressed into the Indian airspace, and in the process, his MiG 21 Bison crossed over to Pakistani side and was shot down. He ejected safely but was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army upon his landing. On Thursday, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan announced the release of Varthaman, calling his move a “peace gesture.” India also used diplomatic and military pressure to ensure that Pakistan releases Varthaman unconditionally, top sources said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made no compromises on Pakistan’s proposal for holding talks, said sources. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval held talks with the US and other P-5 countries, sources said. The External Affairs Ministry also exerted pressure on Pakistan through the Arab world, they said.

Updated Date: Mar 02, 2019 22:21:11 IST