UPDATE: 1900HRS: Abhinandan yet to be brought in to public view, it’s taking long for processes to be gone through, and there is no official word on why this dealy… and there are drizzles in Wagah …

WAGAH BORDER: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was handed back to India at a ceremony here after 5pm, by the Red Cross, which took his custody from the Pakistani military earlier in the day on Friday. The formalities were being gone through thereafter and he’s expected to be presented before the media soon, officials on the spot said.

Abhinandan’s family, including his parents, were at hand to receive him, alongside a huge gathering of well-wishers and nationalistic-spirited youths, who carried banners, Welcome Back, Abhinandan. 

Abhinandan would be taken to Amritsar and then flown to New Delhi, where he is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman as also top Service chiefs.

The Wing Commander went into Pakistani military custody after his MiG21 fighter jet was shot down by enemy fire on September 27 in a face-off over the sky above LoC, but after Abhinandan shot down a F16 of the Pakistani Air Force by chasing it away from Indian skies, and ending up in the skies over the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. He then parachuted down to safety. 

Punjab chief minister Amrinder Singh who was to be present at Wagah border to receive Abhinandan cancelled his plans. –IHN-NN

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