Indian Air Force braveheart Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan last month and returned to India two days later, could once again fly fighter jets after he is given final clearance by the Bengaluru-based Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM). As per reports, there's a fine chance that the 35-year-old IAF hero will return to the cockpit and resume flying soon.
As per laws governing the Indian troopers, any serving officer who has recently returned from enemy captivity has to undergo a series of tests. It is believed that Abhinandan, too, will have to undergo all kinds of training all over again before he can take to the skies again.
Abhinandan joins his squadron
IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has gone back to his squadron in Srinagar though he is on sick leave for four weeks. The IAF pilot preferred to stay with his squadron in Srinagar than spending time with his family in Chennai while on leave. Varthaman was on leave for few days after the security agencies completed a nearly two-week debriefing after his return from the nuclear-armed neighbour Pakistan.
The IAF Wing Commander returned home on March 1 after his MiG 21 Bison crashed during a dogfight with Pakistan. Upon ejecting out of his crashed aircraft, Abhinandan landed at Horan village in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Over 50 hours later, the IAF pilot finally returned to the Indian soil.
After Abhinandan was released by Pakistan, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman met him at a military hospital in New Delhi.
In a nutshell
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp near Balakot sector, deep inside the Pakistani soil on February 26. Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target the Indian personnel the very next day. However, the IAF thwarted their plans.
The Indian strike on the Jaish-e-Mohammed camp came two weeks after the terror group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 troopers.