India demands Pakistan return pilot

India has summoned the acting high commissioner of Pakistan and demanded the immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot who was detained by Pakistan, after being shot down and ejecting into Pakistani territory.

It has also been made clear to Pakistan that no harm should be caused to the Indian defence personnel, the External Affairs Ministry said, adding it has conveyed strong objection to the neighbouring country at the “vulgar display” of an injured officer in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention.

Pakistan detained Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman following an engagement between air forces of the two countries along the Line of Contro. It is not yet clear if a Pakistani jet was downed and how many IAF aircraft were lost a MiG 21 jet in the engagement.

“It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody. India also expects his immediate and safe return,” the MEA said.

The Pakistani Acting High Commissioner was summoned this afternoon by the MEA to lodge a strong protest at the unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan against India, including by violation of the Indian air space and targeting of Indian military posts.

The piloy’s father is retired Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman, former Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command. Like his father, Abhinandan chose the Indian Air Force (IAF) and was commissioned into service in 2004.