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August 2019
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Stokes and Bairstow keep England's Ashes hopes alive in third Test thriller        Komalika becomes recurve cadet world champion; India wins 2 gold, 1 bronze        Iran to let women attend football World Cup qualifier: ministry        Assets under gold ETFs jump to Rs 5,000 cr in first 4 months of FY20        Stimulus package will boost growth and stabilise economy: CII        White House says Trump regrets not raising tariffs higher        G7 to help nations hit by Amazon fires: Macron        Official Iranian plane lands in Biarritz during G7: flight websites        Shah to review ongoing operations against Naxals on Monday        Former finance minister Arun Jaitley cremated with State honours        Give specific timelines for cleaning of Yamuna: NGT        Sindhu becomes first Indian shuttler to win World C'ships gold, bear Okuhara in final        UAE honours PM Modi with its highest civilian award ''Order of Zayed''        Trump, Macron discuss trade, tensions in Persian Gulf ahead of G7 summit - White House        Gokulam Kerala win Durand Cup for first time        Sindhu storms into third successive finals at BWF World Championships        Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley passes away        I find nets claustrophobic, prefer centre wicket for match simulation: Kohli        Rahane's 81 only saving grace in India 203 for 6 on day 1        No more dessert names, Google to officially call new OS 'Android 10'        
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Kerala News
Valiant pilot Abhinandan returns home: PM, Def Minister hail his "exemplary courage"
 
New Delhi/Wagah: Special prayers and thanks giving went across the country on Friday evening after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned home to a hero''s welcome. Yagnas, special pujas marked the day in places like Chennai, a sand sculpture of the valiant Air Force officer came up in Puri and ''yagnas'' were performed by patriot Indians including in national capital and Diyas were lit in Punjab as nation rejoiced the return of the soldier.

The episode is also seen in more ways than one as a diplomatic win for India as Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan apparently had to make a climb down and agreed to release the pilot, whose vantage MiG 21 Bison had hit the powerful fighter jet F-16 on February 27.

Unfortunately, however, the pilot had fallen into PoK area and was taken into custody by Pakistan army. The government though came under pressure as video and photographs of the captured pilot went viral on social media, it made clear to Pakistani side that there will be "no deal" and the Pakistan will have to return him safe and sound. The government was cautious that it does not fall into Pakistani trap of 1999 when the Indian Airlines plane was hijacked and the life of the passengers were ''bargained'' for the release of terrorist Masood Azhar. Senior Indian Army and Air Force officers were present at the border post to receive the pilot, when Pakistan handed him over to the Indian authorities, after completing the tedious formalities.

Crowds had been waiting at Wagah check post for hours to warmly receive him and accord him a hero''s welcome. A senior army officer was seen taking the valiant pilot by arms as they walked in to get into a special vehicle. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed the safe return of Wg Cdr Abhinandan and said the nation is proud of his "exemplary courage". "Welcome Home Wing Commander Abhinandan," Prime Minister tweeted. He further said : "The nation is proud of your exemplary courage. Our armed forces are an inspiration for 130 crore Indians, Vandematarm". ?Wing Commander Abhinandan has just been handed over to us.

He will be taken now for a detailed medical check-up. This check-up is mandatory as he had to eject from an airplane which would have put his entire body under stress,? Vice-Chief Marshal R G K Kapoor told reporters at Wagah. He declined to take questions on the ''perceived'' delay as the Indian side was expecting that the pilot would return home much earlier. Finally, he crossed over only at around 2110 hours. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also tweeted: "Proud of you Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

The entire nation appreciates your valour and grit". "You held your calm in the face of adversity. You are an inspiration to our youth. Salute. Vande Mataram. Jai Hind," she wrote. Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir on February 14.

Indian Air Force undertook the aerial strike on February 26 and destroyed a terror camp at Balakot. Pakistan tried to escalate the situation on February 27 by trying to target India''s military installations in the northern sector. The nefarious designs were, however, foiled.


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