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1-min read

Day After Offering to Receive IAF Pilot at Wagah, Punjab CM Drops Plan Citing Defence Protocol

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he thought over his decision and came to the conclusion that it might “contravene the protocols laid out for such cases.”

News18.com

Updated:March 1, 2019, 2:53 PM IST
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File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. (PTI)
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New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who on Thursday offered to receive Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on his return from captivity in Pakistan, has decided against going to Wagah border post, citing ‘defence protocol’ as the reason.

On Thursday, Amarinder Singh had tweeted that the father of Wing Commander Varthaman and him are alumni of the National Defence Academy. "Dear Narendra Modi ji, I'm touring the border areas of Punjab and I'm presently in Amritsar. Came to know that Pakistan has decided to release Abhinandan Varthaman from Wagah. It will be an honour for me to go and receive him, as he and his father are alumnus of the NDA as I am," he had tweeted.

However, the chief minister said he thought over his decision and came to the conclusion that it might “contravene the protocols laid out for such cases.”

When any PoW from the 1965 or 1971 war came back, he was first sent for medical examination, followed by a debriefing, which was likely to be the case with Wing Commander Abhinandan too, he noted.

In such circumstances, it would be improper for him to go to the Wagah border to receive the officer, said the Chief Minister. He has been camping in the border areas for the past three days, as a part of a confidence-building exercise undertaken in the wake of the prevailing tensions at the LoC that erupted after the Pulwama terror attack.

However, Amarinder wholeheartedly welcomed Abhinandan and said the entire nation is proud of his courage in the face of adversity. “The resoluteness he showed towards any attempts of questioning by the Pakistan armed forces was top class. I congratulate him and welcome back home,” he said.

Abhinandan, captured by Pakistan on Wednesday, will return later on Friday after Pakistani PM Imran Khan announced his release as a "peace gesture", signaling the easing of tension after the two countries engaged in an aerial clash for the first time in nearly 50 years.​

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| Edited by: Zoya Mateen
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