Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday met Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured after his aircraft went down in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Wednesday, PTI reported. Pakistan released Varthaman on Friday night.
Sitharaman met Varthaman along with Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa at a medical facility in New Delhi. The pilot shared with them his experience about his detention in Pakistan, the news agency reported.
The defence ministry tweeted pictures of the meeting, and said she met him to “commend [Varthaman] on his valour, express the nation’s gratitude for his selfless service, and wish him a speedy recovery”.
Varthaman also met his family members and other officials from the Indian Air Force.
Unidentified officials said he is undergoing a series of medical tests at the Air Force Central Medical Establishment and will soon be debriefed about his detention in Pakistan.
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 skirmish since 1971. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had on Thursday said the pilot would be released as a “goodwill gesture”.