Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was captured by Pakistan on Tuesday, will be released Thursday as a 'peace gesture', Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has confirmed.
Abhinandan hails from Chennai. He is the son of Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman (retired), who played a crucial role in the upgradation of Mirage-2000, the aircraft which was used in the offensive against Jaish-e-Mohammed targets in Pakistan on Tuesday.
Simhakutty Varthaman has been advocating the need to upgrade the fighter squadrons and weapon systems.
He has also been recommending the creation of ‘Chief of Defence Staff’ post to coordinate war-efforts as well as with the civilian administration.
Abhinandan, the Mig-21 Bison pilot, trained at the Tambaram airbase and hails from Selaiyyur. He is married and has one kid.
"Abhinandan has one kid. His family isn't staying here currently," a maternal relative said.
Ironically, Air Marshal Varthaman also worked as a consultant for Mani Ratnam’s movie 'Kaatru Veliyidai' where the pilot hero, played by Tamil actor Karthi was captured by Pakistan.
Air Marshal Varthaman, an alumnus of the Sainik School at Amaravathinagar in Tamil Nadu, coordinated the upgradation of the Mirage-2000 aircraft in Gwalior during the 1999 Kargil conflict.
He is also part of a high-powered panel appointed by the defence ministry to examine different aspects of the multi-billion dollar fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project which is being co-developed with Russia.
Abhinandan’s relatives had wanted the Indian government to intervene and secure his release from Pakistan.