Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on leave of four weeks


Indian Air Pilots Pilot (IAF) Commander Abhinandan Varthaman completed his debriefing and medical examination and went on short leave. It is likely that he will return to the same unit, according to a defense source.

"He is well and has returned to his unit in Srinagar. From there, he has been on sick leave for four weeks, "the source said on Thursday.

Wg. Cdr. Abhinandan was caught by Pakistan on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison fighter plane was hit during an air fight and crossed the line of control. He was released and returned to India on 1 March at the Wagah-Attari border crossing.

He had been posted to MiG-21 squadron in Srinagar before the incident. His assignment will be decided once back to work.

However, the source said that he is likely to join the same unit.

Questions arise as to his return to a combat unit, as his ejection by a fighter jet has an impact on the spine.

Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa had said last week that Wg. Cdr. Abhinandan will enter the cockpit once he will be fit. "If he's immediately fit, he will return to the same unit. We do not change units because of that, "he said.

As soon as he crossed, Wg. Cdr Varthaman was brought to Delhi and admitted to the Army Research and Reference Hospital where he underwent a medical examination and a report from several organizations on events since his release. He was subjected to mental harassment during the two days of detention in Pakistan, officials said.

At the same time, the IAF attributed the blow to the F-16, shot down during the air battle, at Wg. Cdr Varthaman.

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