'Welcome home,' tweets Modi as Wing Commander Abhinandan returns to India; Kovind praises 'bravery' of pilot

Leaders across party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Friday welcomed Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman back to India, saying the nation is proud of his exemplary courage.

Soon after Pakistani officials handed over Varthaman to Indian officials, including from the IAF, at the Attari-Wagah Border, the prime minister tweeted, "Welcome Home..." stating that the country's armed forces are an inspiration for the 130 crore Indians.

 Welcome home, tweets Modi as Wing Commander Abhinandan returns to India; Kovind praises bravery of pilot

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

"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," he tweeted.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the IAF pilot's dignity, poise and bravery have made all in India proud.

"Wing Cdr. Abhinandan, your dignity, poise and bravery made us all proud. Welcome back and much love," he said on Twitter.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said, "Great to have you back Abhinandan."

He earlier said, "Welcome home Wing Commander Abhinandan. Your resilience and bravery is what makes India a great nation."

President of India Ram Nath Kovind also welcomed the IAF pilot in a tweet. He said:

BJP president Amit Shah tweeted saying, "India is glad to have you back", adding that the entire nation is proud of his courage and valour.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said that India's happiness with Abhinandan's return is unprecedented. "I salute the courage and resilience of wing Commander Abhinandan," he said.

Punjab chief minister Captain Amarainder Singh tweeted an image of the IAF pilot, saying: "Your resoluteness and poise in the face of adversity makes me proud as an Indian and former soldier. Welcome back son!"

Other political leaders including Sharad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan also welcomed Abhinandan as the hashtag 'WelcomeHomeAbhinandan' became top trend after he crossed the border.

 

Current and former India cricketers like Virat Kohli, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Irfan Pathan were among the first to take to the social networking site to applaud his courage, while India hockey captain Rani Rampal also tweeted to welcome the IAF pilot back.

Sachin Tendulkar also put out a message welcoming Abhinandan. "A hero is more than just four letters. Through his courage, selflessness and perseverance, OUR HERO teaches us to have faith in ourselves," Thendulkar tweeted with the hashtag WelcomeHOmeAbhinandan

Wing Commander Abhinandan returned home from Pakistan on Friday to a hero's welcome, two days after he was captured following a dogfight when his MiG 21 was shot down. He crossed the border at 9.20 pm (IST).

Updated Date: Mar 01, 2019 23:16:15 IST