NEW DELHI: A video of Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman—who spent two days in Pakistani custody after his MiG-21 was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani Air Force jets in February—posing for selfies with colleagues and others has gone viral on social media.
The undated video shows Abhinandan with his colleagues in Jammu and Kashmir recently obligingly posing for selfies with all who wanted a picture with him.
The video is one of the first of its kind after Abhinandan was returned to India by Pakistani authorities on 1 March. His MIG 21 Bison aircraft was shot down by Pakistani jets on 27 March after India scrambled its jets to thwart a Pakistani air raid in retaliation to India bombing a terrorist training camp in Balakot on 26 February. Prior to this, there were few pictures of Abhinandan after his return though the Indian defence ministry did post some photographs of him meeting defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and other senior officers of the IAF besides his family on Twitter.
The latest video seems to have been shot in Kashmir. Abhinandan had returned to his Air Force station in Srinagar but was reportedly transferred out to another base in the western sector last month due to security reasons.
In the video, Abhinandan can be seen and heard joining his colleagues and others in chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and cheering for the Indian Air Force and the Defence Security Corps.
In a short address after the selfies Varthaman can be heard saying that he had happily posed for the photographs with his colleagues since they were not for them, "but their families".
"All these photographs are not for you but for your families I could not meet. All of you and your families prayed for my health and I want to thank them all," he is heard saying.