IAF Pilot Abhinandan Returns Live Updates: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman To Be Handed Over To India Shortly

IAF Pilot Abhinandan Returns Live Updates: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman To Be Handed Over To India Shortly: Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Abhinandan Varthaman captured by Pakistan after his plane crashed on the other side of LoC while on a mission, will be handed over to India by Pakistani authorities today at the Wagah-Attari joint check-post. Air Force: Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan will be released by Pakistan tomorrow. Pakistan PM Imran Khan confirms Abhinandan’s return. In his statement, he said that he has been trying to contact PM Narendra Modi since the escalation of the conflict happened but he has been ignoring me.


  • The officer’s composure and calm despite his hostile reception and the fact of being in captivity at a time of high tensions between India and Pakistan came through in the videos
  • Three videos on social media showed the pilot display remarkable poise in custody

IAF pilot Abhinandan returns live updates: Indian Air Force team arrives at Attari-Wagah post to receive the returning hero

05:29 PM
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is back home in India, he is going through Indian Customs.
05:17 PM

A special plane will fly Abhinandan from Amritsar to Delhi: Sources

05:16 PM

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to enter India anytime now.

05:13 PM

The police and pilot vehicles are standing by awaiting the arrival of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

05:07 PM

Hero’s welcome awaits Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman

05:05 PM

Protocol for Prisoners of war

There’s laid out protocol for ‘Prisoners of war’. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will first go through medical and emotional test & then he will be debriefed by the Indian Air Force.
04:56 PM

The historic moment is expected in a short while.

04:56 PM

IAF pilot Abhinandan left Lahore a while ago in a convoy comprising vehicles of the Pakistani government officials: PTI

04:49 PM

Formalities completed on Pakistan-side of border.

04:46 PM

In a few moments from now, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will cross-over to the Indian side.

04:40 PM

IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan reaches Attari-Wagah border VIP Lounge.

04:38 PM

Visuals from Attari-Wagah border

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Visuals from Attari-Wagah border; Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman to be received by a team of Indian Air Force.

04:35 PM

IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan on his way to Attari-Wagah border.

04:34 PM

Security has been stepped up at the border as India awaits return of Abhinandan.

04:34 PM

IAF team will receive Wing Commander Abhinandan.

04:31 PM

We are just moments away from the historic moment.

04:27 PM

Visuals from Wagah in Lahore

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Pakistan: Visuals from Wagah in Lahore; IAF Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman will soon be handed over to the Indian Air Force at Attari-Wagah border

04:17 PM

Pakistan partially resumes flight operations

Thousands of air travellers stranded worldwide heaved a sigh of relief as Pakistan on Friday partially resumed flight operations in the country, two days after the country’s airspace was closed in view of escalating tensions with India. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced that flight operations at Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta airports resumed on Friday. However, the eastern side airports – Lahore, Multan, Sialkot, Faisalabab and Bahawalpur — will remain closed till March 4. The closure of the airspace left thousands of air travellers stranded worldwide and more than than 700 international and domestic flights were cancelled during the last three days to and from the country including flights to New Delhi. Four Indian passengers were also stranded at the Lahore airport on Wednesday. The CAA said the airspace have been opened for commercial flights while the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) will resume it’s operation from Saturday morning from these airports.The closure of Pakistan’s airspace in response to escalating tensions with India disrupted major routes between Europe and South East Asia. Various airlines such as Air India, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines Wednesday announced they were rerouting their flights as Pakistan closed its airspace. Thai Airways has cancelled nearly 30 flights, affecting 5,000 passengers. (PTI)
03:50 PM

The world is supporting India’s fight against terror: PM Modi

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PM Narendra Modi: A few parties, guided by Modi hatred have started hating India. No wonder, while the entire nation supports our armed forces, they suspect the armed forces. The world is supporting India’s fight against terror but a few parties suspect our fight against terror.

03:47 PM

I salute those who are serving the nation, says PM Narendra Modi in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu

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PM Narendra Modi at a rally in Kanyakumari: 26/11 happened, India expected action against terrorists but nothing happened. When Uri and Pulwama happened, you saw what our brave soldiers did. I salute those who are serving the nation.

03:45 PM

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today held a security review meeting with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

  • Mar 01, 12:15 PM (IST)

    JUST IN: China cancels all flights to and from Pakistan in view of India-Pak tension.


    Mar 01, 12:10 PM (IST)

    JUST IN: New reports now suggest that IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be handed over between 2pm and 4pm.

    Group Captain JD Kurian will receive him.


    Mar 01, 11:54 AM (IST)

    Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi: Indian pilot Abhinanadan Varthaman will be released this afternoon via Wagah.


    Mar 01, 11:53 AM (IST)

    Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi appeals to UN General Secretary and Russia to play a mediation role to de-escalate tensions in South Asia.


    Mar 01, 11:52 AM (IST)

    Pak Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi admits Masood Azhar is in Pakistan

    Pak Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi admits Masood Azhar is in Pakistan

    India has handed over a dossier to Pakistan with “specific details of the JeM complicity in Pulwama terror attack and the presence of JeM terror camps and its leadership in Pakistan.”


    Mar 01, 11:45 AM (IST)

    JUST IN: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announces that he is boycotting the OIC summit due to the presence of External Afffairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.


    Mar 01, 11:38 AM (IST)

    Pak Foreign Minister admits Masood Azhar is in Pakistan

    Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has admitted that Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar is in Pakistan and is “unwell”, but said the government can act against him only if India presents “solid” and “inalienable” evidence that can stand in a court of law. (PTI)


    Mar 01, 11:31 AM (IST)
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    Punjab: People gather at Attari-Wagah border; Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman will be released by Pakistan today.


    Mar 01, 11:30 AM (IST)

    Amit Shah questions Imran Khan’s silence on Pulwama terror attacks

    Amit Shah questions Imran Khan's silence on Pulwama terror attacks

    Speaking at the India Today Conclave, Shah said the Modi government has been able to create “fear” in the minds of those behind terrorism with its action against Pakistan-based terrorists.


    Mar 01, 11:13 AM (IST)

    China cancels all flights to and from Pakistan in view of Indo-Pak tensions

    China has cancelled all flights to and from Pakistan and rerouted its international aircraft flying over the Pakistani airspace due to the regional tensions, official media here reported on Friday.
    The closure of Pakistan’s airspace in response to escalating tensions with India disrupted major routes between Europe and South East Asia and left thousands of air travellers stranded worldwide.
    Flights from the Middle East that usually overfly Pakistan and the Pakistan-India border will have to re-route over India, Myanmar or central Asia to enter China, civil aviation experts told Global Times. (PTI)


    Mar 01, 11:01 AM (IST)

    People flock to Wagah border to welcome IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman: Report

    Security tightened at the Wagah border to control the increasing number of people gathering there to welcome IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, reports News18.
    Varthaman’s MiG 21 was shot and he bailed out  after bringing down one Pakistani F-16 fighter during a dogfight to repel a Pakistani attack on Wednesday morning. He has been in Pakistan since then.
    Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced in Parliament on Thursday that Varthaman would be released on Friday as a “peace gesture”.


    Mar 01, 10:53 AM (IST)

    The whole nation is waiting for Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman to return. All this happened for peace but we must that remember we have to fight terrorism. We should stay alert: Congress leader Kapil Sibal to News18.


    Mar 01, 10:46 AM (IST)

    Sushma Swaraj likely to raise terrorism issue at OIC meet in UAE

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is in Abu Dhabi to attend the foreign ministers’ meet of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) states where she is expected to raise the issue of terrorism, amidst Indo-Pak tensions following the Pulwama terror attack.
    Swaraj will attend the inaugural plenary of the two-day meeting on Friday. It is for the first time that India has been invited to a meeting of the OIC, an influential grouping of 57 Islamic countries, as the guest of honour. (PTI)


    Mar 01, 10:44 AM (IST)

    No democratic government will ever agree that use of weapon is the the ultimate solution. However, no use of weapons is also not a solution, if the opponent is resorting to it: BJP chief Amit Shah said on the air strike at India Today conclave.


    Mar 01, 10:27 AM (IST)

    The whole world knows that the roots of terrorism that India is facing is in Pakistan, says BJP chief Amit Shah at India Today conclave on Friday.


    Mar 01, 10:04 AM (IST)

    Indo-Pak Conflict | How Geneva Conventions can be invoked to bring our IAF pilot back

    Indo-Pak Conflict | How Geneva Conventions can be invoked to bring our IAF pilot back

    The Geneva Conventions are a series of treaties concluded in Geneva between 1864 and 1949 for the purpose of ameliorating effects of war on soldiers and civilians


    Mar 01, 09:55 AM (IST)

    IAF to receive Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman at Wagah border post: Sources
    A delegation of IAF team will on Friday receive Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, captured by Pakistan during an aerial combat, at the Wagah border, official sources told PTI.


    Mar 01, 09:46 AM (IST)

    Just In | BSF in Punjab’s Ferozepur has arrested an Indian national near border out post and seized a mobile phone with Pakistani SIM card, in use, from his possession. The number is added to eight Pakistani groups. Six other Pakistani phone numbers also retrieved from him. The man is from Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh. (ANI)


    Mar 01, 09:41 AM (IST)

    Senators urge Trump to pursue peaceful resolution to India-Pak conflict

    Two influential American Senators have asked US President Donald Trump to pursue a peaceful resolution to the conflict between India and Pakistan and ensure that Islamabad does more against the terrorist groups.
    In a letter to Trump, Senators Jerry Moran from Kansas and Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire said that there is a urgency surrounding the dangerous situation between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.


    Mar 01, 09:31 AM (IST)

    Just In | Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be handed over to Indian High Commission in Islamabad today. Exact time of handing over is being worked out, reports CNBC-TV18 quoting Pakistan government sources. Varthaman’s will return to India from Pakistan via Wagah border.


    Mar 01, 09:10 AM (IST)
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    Visuals from the Attari-Wagah border. Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman will be released by Pakistan today.


    Mar 01, 09:03 AM (IST)

    US again asks Pakistan to deny safe havens to terrorists

    The US has reaffirmed its demand that Pakistan abide by its UN Security Council commitments to deny safe havens to terrorists and block their access to funds as it welcomed Islamabad’s decision to release the captured Indian Air Force pilot.

The IAF pilot missing was part of the Combat Air Patrol (CAP) that involved the on-coming Pakistani armed forces when Pakistan launched an air attack in Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistan strike element included 12 fighters- Four Mirages, Four F-16 and Four JF-17 fighters.

  • Pakistan PM made the announcement while addresing the Pakistan Parliament
  • Union ministers VK Singh and Rajyavardhan Rathore had earlier expressed hope for an early return of the pilot
  • Abhinandan’s father, retired Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman, had been praying for his safe return back home and expressed hope that he doesn’t get tortured
  • Union ministers VK Singh and Rajyavardhan Rathore had earlier expressed hope for an early return of the pilot

Wg Cdr Abhinandan a Chennai boy, son of highly decorated Air Marshal

He is married and has two kids. Ironically, Abhinandan’s father was a consultant for the Mani Ratnam movie Kaatru Veliyidai in which the pilot hero was captured by Pakistan.

The External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly”.

He further said, “In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side. In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action. Pakistan has claimed that he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts”.

‘A True Soldier… Pray He Isn’t Tortured’: Abhinandan’s IAF Veteran Father Hopes for His Safe Return

Major General Asif Ghafoor, Pakistan military spokesman had claimed on Wednesday that Indian Air Force planes “strayed into Pakistani airspace” after its airstrikes. He also said that it had occupied two IAF pilots into custody comprising one, who was in hospital, as per his statement.

Pakistan shells forward posts in Poonch (PTI)

11:45 (IST), FEB 28

Diplomacy only path to resolve India-Pakistan conflict, say US lawmakers (PTI)

Top US lawmakers have said that the escalating tension between Pakistan and India is “deeply alarming” and asked the two nuclear-armed countries to settle their differences through negotiations and not war. Some prominent American think-tanks have also warned that Pakistan should dismantle terrorist groups in the country to de-escalate tensions or else it can spark an “unforeseen war”.

11:17 (IST), FEB 28

The three service chiefs to meet defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman shortly (ANI quoting sources)

11:15 (IST), FEB 28

IAF sources confirm, wreckage pictures are of downed Pakistani F-16

10:39 (IST), FEB 28

Pakistan suspends Samjhauta Express train service till further notice: PTI

Pakistani authorities have suspended the cross-border Samjhauta Express train service betweenLahore and Delhi until further notice, a media report said Thursday, amidst tense bilateral ties in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack. The train departs on Monday and Thursday from Lahore.

10:34 (IST), FEB 28

Japan urges Pakistan to act against terrorists

10:18 (IST), FEB 28

India-Pak tension: How India’s protecting its border citizens

10:13 (IST), FEB 28

Union Cabinet to meet today evening: ANI

10:02 (IST), FEB 28

India’s commercial pilots vow support to anti-terrorism fight

09:48 (IST), FEB 28

India presses for immediate release of IAF pilot in Pakistani custody

Indian High Commission in Pakistan last evening gave a demarche to Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs for immediate and safe return of Wing Commander Abhinandan. Similar Demarche was given to Pakistan’s acting High Commissioner in New Delhi yesterday (ANI)

09:18 (IST), FEB 28

US backs India’s strike on terrorist camps in Pak: ANI

NSA Ajit Doval and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo had a telephonic conversation late last night. Pompeo said that the US supported India’s decision to take action against JeM terror camp on Pakistani soil

09:15 (IST), FEB 28

Sushma Swaraj to leave for UAE to attend OIC meet amid Pak threat to boycott

Amid a threat by Pakistan to boycott a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) if India attended, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is slated to leave for the UAE later today to participate in the conclave as the Guest of Honour. Swaraj will address the plenary of the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers to be held in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to 2. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has threatened to boycott the OIC meeting if Swaraj participated.

09:01 (IST), FEB 28

Jaish into real estate, trading to fund terror acts

Since 2007, the terror outfit has been investing in real estate, production and distribution of consumer goods and commodity trading, an assessment by Indian and US intelligence officials said. According to the US state department, Jaish doesn’t keep money in banks now to avoid seizures.

08:41 (IST), FEB 28

Tank up, govt told airfields 6 days before Balakot strike

State-run oil companies were asked to top up jet fuel at northern airfields and storage depots six days before the air strike on a terror camp inside Pakistan on Tuesday, while a chain of 500 tankers are on way to the Kashmir region carrying replenishments, including motor fuels and kerosene.

08:34 (IST), FEB 28

India will not keep quiet to any act of terrorism says, Ambassador to US Harsh Vardhan Shringla

In a first-of-its-kind interaction with Indian students from the various universities from the Greater Washington area, Shringla said that Pakistan needs to meet its international obligations to crackdown on terrorist networks and safe havens within its territory.

08:27 (IST), FEB 28

The Security Council Sanctions Committee will have 10 working days to consider the fresh proposal submitted by the three members: PTI

08:26 (IST), FEB 28

Pak has poor track record with captured soldiers

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is fortunate that Pakistan has owned up that he is in their custody because there have been instances in the past when Indian military personnel were brutally tortured and killed after being captured by Pakistani forces.

08:25 (IST), FEB 28

Bloodied pilot raises fears of Geneva rules violations

Article 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol II provides that persons deprived of liberty for reasons related to conflict must be treated humanely in all circumstances. It adds that such prisoner is protected against murder, torture as well as cruel, humiliating or degrading treatment. Geneva Conventions encompass four treaties and three additional protocols which regulate the conduct of armed conflict.

08:14 (IST), FEB 28

Ceasefire violation by Pakistan this morning in Krishna Ghati sector along the LoC in Poonch district: ANI

08:07 (IST), FEB 28

Britain, France, US ask UN to backlist JeM chief Masood Azhar

The United States, Britain and France have asked the 15-member Security Council sanctions committee to subject Azhar to an arms embargo, global travel ban and asset freeze. The committee operates by consensus and members have until March 13 to raise objections. However, the move is likely to be opposed by China, which previously prevented the Security Council’s Islamic State and al-Qaida sanctions committee from sanctioning JeM leader Masood Azhar in 2016 and 2017. China’s UN mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new proposal.

Pakistan Army had also released a video that demonstrations a blindfolded man, classifying himself as a Wing Commander-rank IAF officer and his service number. At that moment, he asks, “Am I with the Pakistani Army”.

Raveesh Kumar said Pakistan had replied to India’s strike at a Jaish terror camp by sending its Air Force this morning to aim military set ups on the Indian side.

A senior official in the security formation said the Pakistan air attack came over Kalal area in Rajouri district. As per the official he said, “They tried to target a forward ammunition depot, an army installation.”

The air space defilement by Pakistani jets arises a day after Indian Air Force jets flew across the Line of Control to blow up Jaish-e-Mohammed’s major terror camp.

Tensions have been raised from the time when a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based terrorists killed at least 40 CRPF jawans on February 14 in the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir. Jaish-e-Mohammed took the full responsibility of this terror attack.

On February 26 early morning at around 3:30 am, Indian Air Force carried out air strikes on terror training camps across the Line of Control on Tuesday. The strikes were held just two weeks after Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir region where 40 soldiers were killed. 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force dropped 1,000 kg bombs on terror camps of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen.