February 28th, 2019 | Updated on July 20th, 2022
Abhinandan Varthaman, an Indian Air Force Wing Commander , has been captured by the military in Pakistan after his aircraft crashed on February 27. Abhinandan went ‘missing in action’ on Wednesday morning. Actually, Varthaman was captured after his MiG-21 Bison jet crashed on Pakistani land.
In an alleged video doing the rounds on the internet, the pilot is seen bleeding from his forehead, his eyes covered by a cloth.
In a video released shortly after his capture, Varthaman says,
“My name is Wing Commander Abhinandan and my service number is 27981. I am a flying pilot and my religion is Hindu.” Varthaman then says, “I’m sorry sir… That’s all I’m supposed to tell you.”
When asked, “I hope you have been treated well with us,” by an off-screen person. The captured pilot responds, “Yes I have” and adds that he “will not change my story if I go back to my country.” Varthaman is not wearing restraints and is sipping a cup of tea in the video. He even goes as far as to compliment the tea as “fantastic.” He has minor injuries on his face, cuts and bruises. It’s not clear how he got those injuries.
“The Pakistan Air Force was detected and the Indian Air Force responded instantly. 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,” said Raveesh Kumar, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, in his media briefing on Wednesday afternoon.
Indian Politicians & Celebrities Are Passionately Pleading for Varthaman’s Safe Return:
???????? I’m sorry to hear that one of our brave IAF pilots is missing. I hope he will return home soon, unharmed. We stand by our armed forces in these difficult times. ????????
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 27, 2019
I pray for the safety of Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan.
Whole country is proud of this brave son and everyone is hoping for his safe return. We all stand united to keep our country safe and strong
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 27, 2019
I am praying for the safe return of our brave pilot. May God protect you and give you courage and strength. The nation stands with you.
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) February 27, 2019
Thoughts with the family, friends & colleagues of #WingCommanderAbhinandan. Prayers for his early & safe return home to all those eagerly waiting for him.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 27, 2019
What Wing Commander #Abhinandan showed is a mix of casual class and style while being razor-sharp on vital issues. It is difficult to do this even in a movie role. To do it in real life in hostile territory!
— Madhavan Narayanan (@madversity) February 27, 2019
As an Air warrior, Wg Cdr Abhinandan Varthaman served the nation by defending it with total disregard to his personal safety.
As a nation we pray for his continuous well being and early return.
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) February 27, 2019
Braveheart IAF Pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Vardhaman should be returned to India without any harm as per Geneva convention. #BringBackAbhinandan
— IAS Association (@IASassociation) February 27, 2019