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 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:
Welcome home Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman! India is proud of your courage and sense of duty, and above all your dignity. Wishing you and our entire Air Force every success in the future #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) March 1, 2019
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.
Dear Wing Commander Abhinandan, entire nation is proud of your courage and valour.
India is glad to have you back.
May you continue to serve the nation and IAF with unparalleled passion and dedication. Best wishes for your bright future.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) March 1, 2019
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!"
Join the nation in warmly welcoming back our hero Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman! Your resoluteness and poise in the face of adversity makes me proud as an Indian and former soldier. Welcome back son! Jai Hind! pic.twitter.com/WSdj74NwzJ
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) March 1, 2019
Other political leaders including Sharad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan also welcomed Abhinandan as the hashtag 'WelcomeHomeAbhinandan' became top trend after he crossed the border.
#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan Entire country is proud of Abhinandan. I welcome you. Long live Abhinandan .
— SHARAD YADAV (@SharadYadavMP) March 1, 2019
— Ram Vilas Paswan (@irvpaswan) March 1, 2019
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.
— BCCI (@BCCI) March 1, 2019
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
A hero is more than just four letters. Through his courage, selflessness and perseverance, OUR HERO teaches us to have faith in ourselves.#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan
Jai Hind 🇮🇳
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) March 1, 2019
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