EDITORIAL

Wg Cdr Abhinandan Varthaman returns

Abhinandan Varthaman

 

Pakistan has finally released Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and safely handed him over to India. There is no denying the fact that he is a hero, an exceptional hero, one who faced the Pakistanis with complete courage and commitment, and of course with the highest display of patriotism. He had shot down an F-16 fighter jet of Pakistan Air Force by firing an R-73 air-to-air missile before his MiG-21 Bison was hit during a fierce dogfight and he was captured. As media reports have said, even after he fell on Pakistani soil, he not only fired in the air with his pistol to scare off a mob while one of the civilians shot at the downed pilot’s leg, but also swallowed a quarter of his secret documents and dumped other papers of his survival kit in a pond before being captured by Pakistani civilians and handed over to the Pakistan army.

There is now many reasons to rejoice. Reason one – Pakistan has rattled at India’s superb international diplomacy. Reason two – India did not fire a single bullet post the brave pilot’s capture. Reason three – India has been successful in isolating Pakistan from the entire world community on the issue of protecting, harbouring and patronising terror. Reason four – even the entire Islamic world, of which the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the sole and largest platform, chose not just to keep Pakistan out of its special golden jubilee plenary session at Abu Dhabi, but above all invited India’s external affairs minister as a guest of honour. Reason five – China, which was so long standing in the way of the UN Security Council taking a stand on Jaish-e-Mohammad, has relented due to India’s global diplomatic manouvering. And so on.

India has been able to tell Pakistan – You stop the thing you had started. No nation on earth wants to buy Pakistan’s allegation that India had launched what it called eco-terrorism in the post-Pulwama situation. It is now clear that Pakistan must mend its ways. It is in fact an opportunity for Pakistan to come back from where it has reached and become a good neighbour. Some self-styled liberals in India, who tried to praise Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan have also learnt their lesson. Pakistan has not done India a favour. In fact it is the other way round. India has done a big favour to Pakistan but not doing what it can actually do. As prime minister Narendra Modi has said, India has been facing this menace of terrorism for years. But there is a big difference now. Uri happened, and the world saw what happened after that. And then Pulwama happened, and the world saw what happened.