NEW DELHI: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to make a call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening, and make an offer for immediate return of brave soldier Wing Commanded Abhinandan Varthaman, who had parachuted to Pakistani soil from his crashed MiG21 aircraft after it was shot down by an F16 fighter aircraft of Pakistan.
Imran Khan has told his parliament that he will release Abhinandan on Friday. This, after the Pakistani army gave him a free hand in this respect. Under Geneva Conventions, the captured pilot need be returned to India immediately.
Abhinandan Varthaman, it turns out, was the one who confronted and shot down the F16 fighter aircraft of Pakistan Air Force Wednesday, and in the process had his fighter jet too hit back by the Pakistani side. Both India’s and Paksitan’s fighter jets, one each, were shot down by enemy fire.
After parachuting to safety, Varthaman swallowed the important classified documents he had on his person, so that it would not reach enemy hands, as per information on Thursday.
As per information coming from military officials, Varthaman fired a short-range R73 missile towards Pakistan’s F16, which hit the target and brought down the fighter jet over the Line of Control, and this landed on the other side of the LoC. Indian soldiers on the ground were witness to the fighter jet coming down in a ball of flames.
While chasing back the F16, Abhinandan’s MiG21 aircraft crossed the sky over the line of control and it was shot down by the F16, leading to the parachuting down of the Wing Commander from the hit MiG21.
NO DEAL: India has made it abundantly clear that there can be no “deal” over Varthaman, and India would not be deterred from taking action against Pakistan irrespective of whether or not Pakistan returns Abinandan immediately or later. Imran Khan cannot use this as a bargaining chip, India has made it clear through proper channels to Pakistan. India also said that Pakistan was duty-bound to return Abhinandan immediately, and India expected and demanded as much. –IHN-NN