Pakistan handed a captured Indian pilot back to his country on Friday (March 1) as the nuclear-armed neighbours scaled back their confrontation, at least temporarily.
The Sun is unable to verify the circumstances under which the statement was given. Television footage showed Wing Commander Abhinandan walking across the border near the town of Wagha just before 9.00 p.m (16:00 GMT). Indian officials confirmed he had been returned and said he would be taken for medical checks.
Abhinandan was shot down on Wednesday (February 27) while flying a MiG-21 fighter jet that crashed in Pakistani territory after a dogfight with a Pakistani JF-17. World powers have urged restraint from the two nations, as tensions escalated following a suicide car bombing that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Feb. 14.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said earlier on Friday the pilot would be released “as a gesture of peace and to de-escalate matters”. Before the pilot was released, Pakistani television stations broadcast video of him, looking cleaned up, thanking the Pakistani army for treating him well.