The debriefing of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who became the face of tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan, has been completed by the Indian Air Force and other agencies, IAF sources said.
The officer will now be going on sick leave for a few weeks on the advice of doctors of Army’s Research and Referral Hospital.
The IAF sources however said that a medical review board in the near future will assess the medical fitness of Abhinandan and decide on when he can resume his operations as a fighter pilot.
Abhinanadan had earlier conveyed to the IAF brass that he wants to return to the cockpit as soon as possible.
Wing Commander Varthaman has been undergoing medical treatment at an Army hospital in Delhi.
He underwent several debriefings by security agencies for a couple of days. He was also subjected to various medical tests as part of a cooling down process.
The IAF pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army on Wednesday after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during an aerial combat. He downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan before his plane was hit. Varthaman arrived in the national capital by an IAF flight at around 11:45 pm on Friday, nearly two-and-half hours after he crossed over to India through the AttariWagah border. The IAF pilot was first taken to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), a compact and specialised medical evaluation centre for aircrew of all the three services. Later he was brought to the Army’s Research and Referral hospital.
After he was captured, Varthaman showed courage and grace in handling the most difficult circumstances for which he was praised by politicians, strategic affairs experts, ex-servicemen, celebrities and people in general.
Varthaman became the first IAF pilot to shoot down an F-16 fighter jet during an aerial combat with the Pakistani Air Force.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot, deep inside Pakistan early on Tuesday. Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations on Wednesday. However, the IAF thwarted their plans.
The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 44 soldiers.