Journalism of Courage

Downed Indian pilot is eager to be back in action

Abhinandan Varthaman, the mustached pilot of an Indian MiG-21 Bison who recently received a hero’s welcome home from captivity in Pakistan, now wants to be back in the cockpit as soon as possible, officials have said.
Independence Day

Varthaman told of his desire to be back at the frontline to Indian Air Force brass, Times of India reported citing unnamed officials. He still has to undergo mandatory medical check-ups, though he says he was cheerful despite the “harassment”he had allegedly been subjected while captive.

The doctors are apparently happy to oblige. “The efforts have been to ensure that he returns to the cockpit soon,” the paper cites a military official

Wing Commander Varthaman’s warplane was shot down in a Wednesday dogfight involving Indian MiG-21s and, allegedly, Pakistani F-16s (Pakistan denies it used that particular type of plane, supplied by the US, as that would violate trade agreements). Indian media hail him as the first ever Indian pilot to shoot down an F-16, though Pakistan denies having lost any of its jets. Varthaman ejected and landed on the Pakistan-controlled side of Kashmir, where he was captured.

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