Two years after the completion of Pakistan Air Force’s Operation Swift Retort, a recorded clip of Indian Air Force’s (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was shot down by Pakistan Air force when he tried to enter Pakistani Air space in his MiG-21 Bison, circulating on social media.
In the two-minute, six-second video, Abhinandan calmly recounts his arrest, as well as the situation in Kashmir and the desire for peace between the two countries.
Contradictory claims are being made on social media regarding the video. Some users say that this is a new video and it has been released by the Pakistani forces on the occasion of this day, while others say that they have already seen a part of it.
However, the Pakistan Army Public Relations (ISPR) has not yet issued a statement regarding the video. However, upon contacting military sources, it was confirmed that the video was old and was recorded two years ago when the Indian pilot was in the custody of Pakistani forces.
It may be recalled that two years ago, a video of him in the same uniform with the same frame was released in which he said that he was trying to find the target when the Pakistan Air Force shot down his plane.
At that time, he had also made some remarks related to the Indian media which had caused him considerable criticism.
If you compare this video with old videos and take a closer look at the video frame, it looks like it was recorded at the same place and probably at the same time where their first videos were recorded during his detention.
In the video statement, Abhinandan said that while coming down from the parachute, I saw both the countries, I did not know any difference between the two countries, both are equally beautiful.
“When I fell down, I didn’t even know if I was in Pakistan or India because I felt the same for both countries and people,” he said.
“I was badly injured and I couldn’t move but I tried to find out what country I was in and when I felt I was not in my country I tried to run away,” Abhinandan said.
There were people behind me who were very excited and they wanted to catch me.
In a statement, Abhinandan said that two Pakistani soldiers came and rescued me, then they took me to their unit where I was given medical treatment and taken to the hospital where I was tested and given more medical help.
Regarding Kashmiris, Abhinandan said, “Neither I nor you know what is happening to Kashmiris. We need to think calmly.”
Regarding the Pakistan Army, the Indian pilot said, “I found the Pakistan Army very professional and courageous and I was very impressed with the courage shown by the Pakistan Army.”
“I do not know what needs to be done to bring peace, but I know that there should be peace,” said the Indian pilot referring to the two countries. “I want peace to be there between the countries.”
It may be recalled that on February 27, 2019, the Pakistan Air Force shot down Indian planes violating the country’s airspace and its pilot had just arrested Nandan.
The government of Pakistan later released a video of the arrested pilot of the downed Indian Air Force plane, in which the Indian pilot described himself as wing commander, Abhinandan of Indian Air Force with his service number. However, he declined to provide further details in the video.
After this, another video of the arrested Indian pilot came to light in which Abhinandan had thanked the captains and soldiers of the Pakistan Army for rescuing them from the angry mob and praised their behaviour.
He flew a MiG-21 as a part of a sortie that scrambled to intercept an intrusion by Pakistan aircraft into Jammu and Kashmir.
In the dogfight that ensued, he crossed into Pakistan territory where he struck by a missile.
Varthaman ejected and descended safely in the village of Horan in Pakistan administered Kashmir, approximately 7 km from the Line of Control.
After the violation of Pakistani airspace by the Indian Air Force and the arrest of their pilot, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced in a joint sitting of Parliament that we would release the arrested Indian pilot Nandan for peace.
Abhinandan was handed over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah border after all the paperwork and he had returned home.
Later in May, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan had said that the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) response to the Indian incursion on February 27 would be remembered in history as “Operation Swift Retort”.
Last year, one year after Operation Swift Retort, the Pakistan Air Force unveiled various parts of the Indian aircraft that was shot down on February 27, 2019.