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Abhinandan Will Acquire New Meaning Now, Says PM Modi Day After IAF Pilot's Return

The Prime Minister stated that the world watches every move of the country closely as he underscored India's diplomatic victory in bringing the Wing Commander back from Pakistan.

Updated:March 2, 2019, 1:08 PM IST
New Delhi: A day after Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman returned to India after being held captive in India for nearly three days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored that it was a diplomatic victory for India.

The Prime Minister, while addressing a public function in New Delhi, stated that the world watches every move of the country closely. He said the Sanskrit word ‘Abhinandan’ would now acquire a new meaning due to what has transpired over the past couple of days.

Indicating that the international community takes the country seriously, PM Modi said, “Whatever India does, world watches it closely….It is the power of this nation that it changes the meaning of words. Abhinandan used to mean congratulations, now Abhinandan will have a new meaning.”

Wing Commander Abhinandan, after a day-long wait for his release, was handed over to Indian authorities late on Friday evening at the Wagah-Attari border. Imran Khan had said Pakistan is releasing him as a "gesture of peace" aimed at de-escalating tensions between the two nations.

"It is good to be back in my country," was the first reaction of IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman as he set his foot back on Indian soil.

Welcoming the pilot, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Varthaman was an inspiration for the country. “The nation is proud of your exemplary courage. Our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians. Vande Mataram!” he tweeted.

The Wing Commander was captured by Pakistan Army after his aircraft crash-landed in PoK following an aerial dogfight with the jets of Pakistan Air Force near the Line of Control.

The IAF pilot was part of the Indian Air Force team that intercepted Pakistan Air Force jets who attempted to target military installations in Jammu and Kashmir. Flying a MiG-21, the IAF pilot shot down an F-16 fighter jet before his aircraft was hit.

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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