Indian pilot released by Pakistan enters India

Indian pilot released by Pakistan enters India

Indian pilot released by Pakistan enters India

The agency issued a statement saying all domestic and worldwide flights will be allowed to and from the cities of Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta. The country had closed its airspace on Wednesday following the escalation, causing disruptions to global air traffic.

Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured when his MiG-21 among two Indian military aircraft was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force after they ventured into the Pakistani airspace.

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. "It's been going on for a long time - decades and decades".

"The Pakistan army looked after me really well, they are very professional", the pilot said while in uniform, adding that he saw potential for peace.

A group of schoolchildren brandished a painting of the pilot, along with saffron, white and green Indian flags and placards reading: "Hope for peace between India & Pakistan" and "Thank you Imran Khan", referring to Pakistan's prime minister. At an election rally in Tamil Nadu, the pilot's home state, Modi said, "Every Indian is proud that fearless Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is from Tamil Nadu". He did not elaborate.

Also Friday, Pakistan's top diplomat said he was skipping a meeting of foreign ministers from the world's leading Islamic organization in the United Arab Emirates to protest the host's decision to invite India, a non-member.

On Thursday and Friday both countries continued to fire barrages across the Line of Control (LoC), the de-facto border dividing Kashmir, with mortar fire killing four people on the Indian side.

Since Friday morning, it was expected that Abhinandan would be released by Pakistan anytime after noon. The countries have fought three wars, two directly related to the disputed region.

The first war broke out over Kashmir after partition divided the subcontinent into India and Pakistan. India long has accused Pakistan of cultivating such militant groups to attack it. Pakistan has said it was not involved in that attack and was ready to help New Delhi in the investigation.

The plane landed at the Delhi airport about an hour after midnight.

Armed forces have been on an operational high alert along the borders across the country.

"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.

Varthaman, seen wearing an Indian Air Force uniform, says the Pakistani military was "professional" in treating him.

After Abhinandan was shot down on Wednesday in a dogfight with Pakistani aircraft, purported footage that went viral showed him being beaten by locals before Pakistani soldiers intervened.

The Indian airstrike came after a deadly attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad on the Indian paramilitary police force in Kashmir in mid-February.

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