In a brazen response to Indian aggression in light of escalating tensions, Pakistan on Wednesday shot down two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets that violated the Line of Control (LoC), taking Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in custody.
The last time Pakistan captured an IAF officer was on May 27, 1999.
Flight lieutenant Kambampati Nachiketa, 26 years old at the time, was conducting airstrikes against Pakistan during the Kargil War on his MiG 27 fighter aircraft when Pakistan’s valiant air force captured him after his aircraft caught fire causing him to eject the plane.
Nachiketa was found in breach of the Geneva Convention.
In an unprecedented move to initiate and establish peace, Pakistan then handed Nachiketa to India safely after he spent eight days in Pakistan’s custody, under the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s regime.
During his return, Nachiketa was driven across the India-Pakistan border by an air attaché.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpaye and then air chief, Air Chief Marshal Anil Tipnis, also spoke to him before he left Islamabad.