abhinandan mother
IAF pilot Abhinandan's mother Shobha Varthaman inside the plane.Twitter

Hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that the captured Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be freed on Friday, March 1, after New Delhi sought his unconditional, immediate and unharmed release, his parents took an Indigo flight from Chennai to Delhi and received a standing ovation from co-passengers.

The parents of our country's hero were onboard. The co-passengers cheered, clapped and took pictures as Abhinandan's father, retired air marshal S Varthaman and his mother Shobha Varthaman while they made their way through the plane to their seats.

Watch the video here.

Abhinandan's father said he was very proud of his son's bravery and hoped for his safe return home. He thanked everyone for their support and good wishes. He said that his son talked (in videos circulating on social media) like a 'true soldier' despite being in Pakistan's captivity.

Abhinandan Varthaman
IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan VarthamanNDTV

The nation gears up to welcome IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who will be brought to the Wagah border by the Pakistan Army at around 2 pm. He was captured by Pakistan this week, marking a dramatic pause in steadily deteriorating relations between the nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan. He will then be handed over to civilian authorities and representative of Indian High Commission at the Wagah-Attari border in Amritsar, Punjab. The civilian authorities will be handing him over to the Indian Border Security Force.

IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman was taken prisoner on Wednesday, February 27, after his MiG-21 was shot down after it reportedly crossed the Line of Control while chasing the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets that had breached the Indian airspace.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan said that this is the first gesture on their part to open negotiations between the two countries.