Abhinandan Varthaman's parents cheered on Chennai-Delhi flight

Abhinandan Varthaman's parents cheered on Chennai-Delhi flight

Fearing more attacks, hundreds of civilians on Thursday fled villages on the Pakistani side of the border.

Pakistan later released videos of a blindfolded and bloodied Abhinadan; he was reportedly beaten up by the mob but was rescued by the Pakistan forces. The United States and other world powers have urged restraint.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Russia President Vladimir V Putin called Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone and conveyed his deep condolences on the Pulwama terrorist attack.

President Trump said that he had "reasonably attractive news" that the tensions between India and Pakistan are likely to lessen a day after the nuclear-armed neighbors engaged in their first aerial combat in almost 50 years.

"He has targeted our military installations", Indian Army Maj.


Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal acknowledged his country received a "dossier" from India about the February 14 suicide bombing. "We are ready, if he provokes us any further".

Pakistan later aired a video of a man it identified as the Indian pilot.

On Thursday, Pakistan Prime Minister told the Pakistan National Assembly that Wing Commander Abhinandan will be released on Friday as a 'peace gesture and as a first step to open negotiations.' Pakistan's move to release the IAF pilot followed massive pressure from the global community including the US, UAE and Saudi Arabia. He did not give details.

Strict security measures have been taken at the Wagah border.

"Pakistan wants peace, but it should not be treated as our weakness", Khan said. "The region will prosper if there is peace and stability".


Wing Commander Abhinandan's plane was shot down over a Pakistani-controlled area of the Kashmir region following a mid-air skirmish earlier this week. Modi's opponents seized on his decision to continue election-related activities in the midst of the crisis and criticized him for saying nothing about the pilot's capture. "India will fight as one".

"During that half a kilometre run, he fired some more gunshots in the air as well, to frighten the guys but to no avail", said Muhammad Razzaq Chaudhry, 58, one of the eyewitnesses.

The growing began following a suicide vehicle bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir which killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police on February 14.

Tensions have escalated between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack claimed by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). He will be taken to New Delhi for a debriefing and a medical check-up.

But India made it clear that the latest escalation has changed its strategy and that going forward, it would strike, including inside Pakistan, if they get information of an attack in the planning.


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