Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the meaning of “Abhinandan”, which translates to “welcome”, will change now, in an apparent reference to the Indian Air Force pilot released by Pakistan, PTI reported.
“The world takes note of what India does,” Modi said at an event in New Delhi. “India has the strength to change the meaning of words in the dictionary.”
Modi’s comments came a day after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released by Pakistan. The pilot crossed over into India through the Attari-Wagah border on Friday night.
“Abhinandan once used to mean welcome,” said Modi. “And now the meaning of Abhinandan will change.”
Varthaman was captured when the MiG-21 jet he was flying was brought down by Pakistani aircraft inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Wednesday. The aircraft was taken down during a dogfight between Indian and Pakistani planes, the first such aerial standoff since 1971. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had on Thursday said the pilot would be released as a “goodwill gesture”.
Soon after the pilot was released, Modi had tweeted, “Welcome Home Wing Commander Abhinandan! The nation is proud of your exemplary courage.”