WATCH | IAF pilot Abhinandan's parents get standing ovation on board flight to Delhi

On Thursday Imran Khan announced that he would be released, signalling a de-escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan.

Published: 01st March 2019 12:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd March 2019 08:36 AM   |  A+A-

S Varthaman, father of Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. (Photo: YouTube screengrab)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: It may have been after midnight when the Chennai-Delhi flight came to a stop at the tarmac but there was no scramble to get bags from the overhead bin or rush towards the exit because all eyes were focused on one couple -- the parents of IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.

The parents of Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman were in for a surprise on Friday while they were travelling to receive their son. 

According to videos uploaded on social media, the couple were given a standing ovation by the co-passengers who also stood aside to allow them to exit the aircraft before anybody else.

Several passengers, overwhelmed by emotion, even touched the feet of the couple — Retd Air Marshal S Varthaman and Shobha Varthaman, a doctor. Every passenger however, lauded Abhinandan’s valour and said they were proud of him. 

They left for Amritsar soon after landing in Delhi. Abhinandan arrived at the Attari border, escorted by Pakistani soldiers late on Friday evening.


READ| Wing Commander Abhinandan to be released on Friday, scores assemble at Wagah border to welcome IAF pilot

The pilot’s return was reportedly delayed because of the documentation process.

He shot down the plane before his own went down, forcing him to eject. He fell into Pakistani territory.

On Thursday Khan announced that he would be released, signalling a de-escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan. Abhinandan's family has served the Indian Air Force for generations, since the second World War.

Air Marshal S Varthaman, a recipient of several honours, including a Param Vishisht Seva Medal, said in a message, "Abhi is alive, not injured, sound in mind, just look at the way he talked so bravely. A true soldier. We are so proud of him".

Abhinandan was shot down during a dogfight with Pakistan Air Force fighters who had crossed the Indian border reportedly in order to strike several military targets. 

(With inputs from PTI)

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp