Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa (retired) has said Pakistan did not have a choice other than to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, days after his MiG-21 was downed in a dogfight in February last year. The Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot had also scored a kill, a Pakistani F-16, before his plane went down in Pakistan and he was captured.
The former IAF chief’s comments came after a Pakistani politician in their national assembly revealed how Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was “shaking and perspiring” during a meeting to discuss Wing Commander Varthaman’s capture.
A dogfight had broken out less than 24 hours after Indian jets bombed a camp of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan’s Balakot, in response to Jaish’s suicide attack on a convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama that left 40 soldiers dead.
“Me and Abhinandan’s father go back a very long time. We did the flying instructor’s course together… When Abhinandan got captured… my flight commander Ahuja in Kargil war, he got captured and was shot on the ground, so that was playing in my mind. I told him, ‘Sir, I know we couldn’t get Ahuja back, but we will definitely get Abhinandan back’,” Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa told news agency ANI. Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, who flew a MiG-21, was killed by Pakistani forces after his fighter jet was shot down by Pakistani forces in 1999.
In a speech in the National…