NEW DELHI: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, released by Pakistan after his capture last week, was debriefed on Sunday by Indian security agencies, two people familiar with the development said.
Varthaman was brought to New Delhi late Friday night by an Indian Air Force aircraft. He was then transferred to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), a specialised medical evaluation centre for aircrew of all the three services, and later shifted to the Army's Research and Referral hospital.
Over the weekend, he was debriefed by the security agencies, one of the two people cited above said, adding that the process would continue over the next several days.
Varthaman also underwent medical evaluation tests.
According to ANI news agency, Varthaman had suffered injury to his ribs, which may have been the consequence of him being beaten by villagers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir when he ejected from his MIG-21 aircraft on 27 February. This came after Varthaman and others from the Indian Air Force repulsed an air raid by Pakistan. This followed the 26 February Indian air strike on Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where IAF jets targeted a terrorist training camp in Balakot.
According to the ANI report, Varthaman also suffered spinal injuries which could have been the consequence of him ejecting from his aircraft.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa met Varthaman separately on Saturday, the second person cited above said. During the meeting, the defence minister commended him on his valour and expressed the nation's gratitude for his service, the person said.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian fighter jets bombed the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group's training camp in Balakot, inside Pakistan early Tuesday. Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations on Wednesday. The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.