Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was received by the IAF team at the Wagah-Attari border on Friday evening as Pakistan handed the braveheart back to India.
The ace pilot was received with a thunderous welcome by hundreds of people gathered at the Wagah-Attari border. Ace Indian tennis player Sania Mirza, who is married to Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, posted a heartwarming message for Abhinandan following his return to India.
Wing commander’s return is being seen as a diplomatic win for India. Earlier, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that Abhinandan, who was taken a prisoner on February 27- would be handed to India as ‘peace gesture’ following India’s refusal to hold down talks on the issue.
Mirza, who has won numerous accolades for India, took to social media platform Twitter to welcome back Wing Commander Abhinandan as she wrote that the ace pilot is India ‘Hero in the truest sense’.
“Welcome back Wing Commander Abhinandan .. you are our HERO in the truest sense.. The country salutes you and the bravery and dignity you have shown #Respect #WelcomeBackAbinandan Jai Hind,” wrote Mirza on Twitter following Abhinandan’s release.
Earlier on Wednesday, Abhinandan had downed a Pakistani Air Force’s F-16 fighter jet by firing an R-73 air-to-air missile, but his MiG-21 Bison was hit during a dogfight.
Unfortunately, Abhinandan’s ejected parachute took him to PoK, where a mob of Pakistani villagers attacked him. However, the braveheart was rescued by the Pakistani armymen.
Following his capture, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had issued a stern message to the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haidar Shah demanding the immediate release of Abhinandan.
Our hero is home: Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone salute Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman's return
While India’s ‘brave son’ landed on the Indian soil after two days of being captured by Pakistan, Bollywood celebrities have saluted his bravery. Earlier, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan announced that the IAF officer would be released as a “gesture of peace” which came as a result of the Surgical Strike 2.0.
At around 9:30 pm, IAF pilot Abhinandan came entered India via Attari-Wagah border. While several celebs have welcomed the braveheart including Riteish Deshmukh, Ranveer Singh, Anil Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Parineeti Chopra, Varun Dhawan, Anushka Sharma, Shahid Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Vivek Oberoi and many more, Alia Bhatt and Deepika Padukone too shared their joy of the Wing Commander’s homecoming.
On Twitter, Alia wrote, “Our hero is back.” The actress who was recently in Gully Boy, posted the message with an emoji of the Indian flag, while Deepika Padukone saluted him with a sign of “Jai Hind”.
Our hero is home. #Abhinandan 🇮🇳— Alia Bhatt (@aliaa08) March 1, 2019
For honour of the Nation, you kept duty ahead of your personal safety. Wearing India Colours on your sleeve, you showed calm and poise in adversity. #Abhinandan you created history and in you we find the best of the Indian Armed Forces. Bravo #AirWarrior, more power to you pic.twitter.com/dZV73G7sz8— Defence Spokesperson (@SpokespersonMoD) March 1, 2019
Alia is currently at St Moritz, Switzerland, for Akash Ambani and Shloka Mehta’s pre-wedding celebrations. The actress has been prepping for her upcoming film Brahmastra which stars Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and Mouni Roy. On the other hand, Deepika will be prepping up for Laxmi Saa’s biopic Chhappak, directed by Meghna Gulzar.
Welcome home Abhinandan! आपकी वीरता सर आँखों पर! Inspiration to our whole nation . Jai Hind 🇮🇳✊— Ranveer Singh (@RanveerOfficial) March 1, 2019
T 3105 - From Anamika Ef :— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) March 1, 2019
"One of my closest friend says “A true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him" ~ her husband (a close friend again) is in Air Force..."
ABHINANDAN ... स्वागतम , सुस्वागतम् 🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/2uPrGOPwOE
It’s midnight & I cannot sleep. I’m so happy that #AbhinandanVartaman is going to be coming home. I can only imagine what his family feels right now. Every minute will feel like a lifetime & the heart will skip many beats. #WelcomeBackAbhinandan 🙏 We salute your bravery & valour— Preity G Zinta (@realpreityzinta) March 1, 2019
Welcoming home a true fighter, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.— Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) March 1, 2019
The entire nation welcomes you home Abhinandan. You are a true Hero. 🇮🇳— Anushka Sharma (@AnushkaSharma) March 1, 2019
We salute your valour and the entire nation is extremely proud of you Wing Commander Abhinandan... Welcome home :)— Arjun Kapoor (@arjunk26) March 1, 2019
What a blessed visual to see our hero come back home. #Jaihind— Shahid Kapoor (@shahidkapoor) March 1, 2019
We salute your bravery and valour....we applaud your strength in the face of adversity....#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) March 1, 2019
Welcome back home #WelcomeBackAbinandan a true hero. These humane actions give hope that all humanity is not lost. Bharat mata ki Jai— Varun Dhawan (@Varun_dvn) March 1, 2019
The face of bravery and courage for an entire nation. You showed the entire world what the love for a country means and from all of us, #WelcomeHomeAbhinandan!— Apoorva Mehta (@apoorvamehta18) March 1, 2019
Finally !!!!!!!! #AbhinandanReturns— taapsee pannu (@taapsee) March 1, 2019
Welcome Back Home Dear #Abhinanadan - we salute your courage, bravery & service to our nation. 🇮🇳 🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳— Riteish Deshmukh (@Riteishd) March 1, 2019
Everyone can learn something or two about real heroism from you. The entire nation is extremely proud of you and your courage! #WelcomebackAbhinanadan— Parineeti Chopra (@ParineetiChopra) March 1, 2019
Everyone awaits your return . Proud of you sir !! Salutes to the brave son of india #WelcomeHomeAbhinandan— Emraan Hashmi (@emraanhashmi) March 1, 2019
#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan You are a real hero and we as a nation stand beside you, Thank you for your selfless service, Jai Hind 🇮🇳— Sidharth Malhotra (@SidMalhotra) March 1, 2019
You are a true Hero !! #WelcomeHomeAbhinandan India is proud of you 🇮🇳— Huma Qureshi (@humasqureshi) March 1, 2019
Devastating & tragic. Pilot of the F16 downed by Wing Cmdr #Abhinandan may hv been lynched to death by a mob thinking he was Indian! “The 2 sons engaged each other in the air; 1 was taken a prisoner of war and has returned home, while the other was killed by his own people.” 😔 https://t.co/7Xuy9xra9E— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) March 1, 2019