Moment Abhinandan released by Pakistan in 'peace gesture — India pilot RELEASED

Indian soldiers and Kashmiri onlookers stand near the remains of an Indian Air Force aircraft after it crashed in Budgam district some 30 kilometers from Srinagar

He was captured by Pakistan's military on Wednesday morning after his fighter jet was shot down in a dogfight along the two nations' disputed border.

In Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, government official Umar Azam said Indian troops with heavy weapons "indiscriminately targeted border villagers" along the Line of Control, killing a boy and wounding three other people. Abhinandan walked through the border gate around 8:55pm.

Pakistan released a downed Indian pilot back to India on Friday, the Pakistani foreign ministry said, amid a tense standoff between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

"While in captivity, he was treated with dignity and in line with global law", the statement added.

On Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told a joint session of parliament that Islamabad would release the captured pilot as a "gesture of peace".

Wing Commander Abhinandan's plane was shot down over a Pakistani-controlled area of the Kashmir region following a mid-air skirmish earlier this week. The nation is proud of your exemplary courage.

Abhinandan's family has a record of serving the Indian Air Force for generations since World War II.

Amidst tension between India and Pakistan, the Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport (RGIA) on Saturday announced that there is a ban on the entry of visitors at the airport until further notice.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels and sending them into Indian-controlled Kashmir to launch attacks against government targets.

Pakistani protesters burn a picture of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a rally against India in Karachi, Pakistan, March 1, 2019.

Historically tense relations between neighbouring India and Pakistan went into a downward spiral after a Pakistan-based terrorist organisation claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed over 40 Indian soldiers last month.

Islamabad has promised retaliation in response to airstrikes conducted in Pakistan by the Indian Air Force on an alleged terror camp.

Though the Indian bombs did not cause any major damage or casualties, Pakistan vowed to retaliate against the flagrant violation of its airspace at the time and venue of its choosing.

Abhinandan was flying one of these aircraft and he was arrested by ground forces in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

"The Pakistani army is a very professional service", he said. India reportedly wants to keep Abhinandan's return free of ceremony.

In later footage, he could be seen sipping tea from a cup without a blindfold.

But Indian officials could be sceptical - having raised these concerns before. According to The Independent, Gokhale also said that many Jaish-e-Mohammed members, trainers and senior officials were eliminated. His handover took several hours as procedures including a medical checkup to verify his health and condition were completed before he was turned over to Indian officials. They constantly cheered the couple, a video clip shows. Pakistan had earlier denied that it had deployed F-16 aircraft on Wednesday, stressing that no Pakistani Air Force aircraft had been hit. He said that he ejected immediately by using a parachute.

Indian army says its soldiers responded.



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