» News » Despite injuries, Abhi wants to return to cockpit at the earliest

Despite injuries, Abhi wants to return to cockpit at the earliest

Last updated on: March 03, 2019 20:54 IST

IMAGE: Minister of State for Defence Subhash Rao Bhamre met Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman at Army Hospital Research And Referral in New Delhi, on Sunday. Photograph: ANI

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who became the face of the tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan, conveyed to the Indian Air Force brass that he wants to return to the cockpit as soon as possible, officials said on Sunday.

For the last two days, the Indian Air Force pilot has been undergoing medical treatment at a military hospital in New Delhi.

Wg Cdr Varthaman told senior IAF commanders and doctors treating him that he wants to start flying at the earliest, the officials told PTI.

On Wednesday, he became the first IAF pilot to shoot down an F-16 fighter jet during an aerial combat with the Pakistani Air Force. Wg Cdr Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani Army after his MiG-21 Bison jet was hit in a fierce dogfight.


He returned to India to a hero's welcome on Friday night.

His health condition is being monitored by a group of doctors at the Army's Research and Referral hospital, the officials said.

"The efforts have been to ensure that he returns to the cockpit soon," said a military official.

The officials said Wg Cdr Varthaman has been in high spirits despite the harassment he suffered in Pakistan.

Wg Cdr Varthaman on Sunday underwent debriefings by security agencies even as his medical check up continued for the second day at the military hospital, officials said.

A number of senior IAF officials also met Wg Cdr Varthaman.

Wg Cdr Varthaman was debriefed by the security agencies and it will continue for the next couple of days.

He also underwent several medical tests as part of a cooling down process, the officials said.

No bugs have been found implanted in him during an MRI scan, a source said on Sunday.

The security agencies were understood to have been checking for any bugs which could be present in Wg Cdr Varthaman.

The scan also showed an injury in his lower spine which could have happened following his ejection from the plane, the source said.

He also has a rib injury due to an assault by the Pakistani locals soon after he landed on ground.

"The efforts have been to ensure that he returns to the cockpit soon," a military official said.

Wg Cdr Varthaman arrived in the national capital on an IAF flight around 11.45 pm on Friday, nearly two-and-half hours after he crossed over to India through the Attari-Wagah border.

The IAF pilot was first taken to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), a compact and specialised medical evaluation centre for aircrew of all the three services.

Later he was brought to the Army's Research and Referral hospital.

After he was captured, Wg Cdr Varthaman showed courage and grace in handling the most difficult circumstances for which he was praised by politicians, strategic affairs experts, ex-servicemen, celebrities and people in general.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa met Varthaman separately on Saturday during which he apprised them about the mental trauma he was subjected to during his captivity in Pakistan.

During the meeting, the defence minister commended him on his valour and expressed the nation's gratitude for his selfless service.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp near Balakot, deep inside Pakistan early on Tuesday.

Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations on Wednesday. However, the IAF thwarted their plans.

With ANI inputs.

© Copyright 2019 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.