Thousands flock to India border for pilot’s homecoming

Mar 01, 2019, 6:50 AM EST

Thousands of Indians have gathered at the India Pakistan Wagah border crossing to welcome an Indian fighter pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, who is being released by Pakistan after two days of captivity.

Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan’s troops after he crash-landed in the disputed region of Kashmir following an aerial engagement with Pakistani jets on February 27, notes the BBC.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan announced yesterday that the captured pilot would be released as a “peace gesture,” urging his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to reciprocate with dialogue.

Abhinandan’s release is being viewed as a major diplomatic win for India, which last week carried out air raids on terror camps run by Jaish-e-Mohammad on the Pakistani soil. Tensions between the two countries have been mounting after the Pulwama terror attack that left 44 Indian paramilitary troops dead on February 14.