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Confident That Wing Commander Abhinandan Will Soon be Back in Business, Says Ex-IAF Chief Arup Raha

Air Chief Marshal (retd) Arup Raha referred to the 35-year-old wing commander as a fine, ideal and exemplary professional and said the country had a lot to learn from him.

Prema Rajaram | CNN-News18

Updated:March 1, 2019, 5:18 PM IST
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Confident That Wing Commander Abhinandan Will Soon be Back in Business, Says Ex-IAF Chief Arup Raha
File photo of Air Chief Marshal (retd) Arup Raha
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Kolkata: As citizens across the nation eagerly await Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s safe return from Pakistan, a former Indian Air Force chief who has seen him grow up is also proudly looking forward to the IAF pilot’s reunion with his parents.

Air Chief Marshal (retd) Arup Raha referred to the 35-year-old wing commander as a fine, ideal and exemplary professional.

“It’s nice to know that he is returning to the country. He is like my son. I am sure he is in good health and he will be back in business as he comes from a family of professionals. The country has a lot to learn from him,” said the former IAF Chief.

Wing Commander Abhinandan’s father, Air Marshal (retd) S Varthaman, was a batch-mate of the former air chief and knew him during their days at the National Defence Academy and while training for the Indian Air Force.

Raha described Wing Commander Abhinandan as a fine officer who has gone from flying Sukhoi-30s to MiG-21 bison fighter jets and expressed confidence that he had showed exemplary grit during his captivity in Pakistan.

“He is an excellent pilot and has done a good job. We need aggressive people like him in combat. As far as the facts related to the current situation are concerned, we will know more once he is back.”

The IAF pilot was captured on Wednesday by Pakistan after his MiG-21 Bison fighter jet was downed by Pakistan Air Force jets near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Remembering earlier wars when pilots escaped from being captured, the former air chief said, “There were bold and courageous pilots who escaped from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Today, too, we have pilots who have immense grit and determination.”

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