Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman chose to go back to his squadron in Srinagar during his four-week sick leave, instead of spending time with his family in Chennai, media report suggested. The IAF pilot was advised to go on sick leave for at least three weeks before resuming duty following his capture by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets.
As per standard procedure, the ace fighter had undergone a series of medical tests as part of the "cooling down" process and had also completed two weeks of debriefing with the Indian Air Force (IAF) and other security officials.
"During his sick leave, the officer had the option of going to his family home in Chennai where his parents live but he decided to go back to Srinagar where his squadron is deployed for operations," ANI quoted IAF sources as saying.
"At the moment, the officer has decided to stay with his men and machines in Srinagar and would be required to come back from New Delhi for a review by medical board which will decide on his fitness for flying fighter planes," they added.
Abhinandan Varthaman has struck a chord with people for his utmost dignity and valour in the face of extreme situations he faced in Pakistan during his two-day captivity. His conduct during his time in Pakistan was praised by politicians, strategic affairs experts, ex-servicemen, celebrities and others.
IAF pilot Abhinandan was captured by the Pakistani army from Horran village (barely 7 km from the LoC) in Bhimber district of PoK after ejecting from his jet, which was hit during a dogfight with Pakistani fighters.
However, Pakistan released the IAF pilot within 60 hours after India applied intense diplomatic pressure on the beleaguered neighbour by courting support from major powers in the world, including the US, the UK and France.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar