Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s debriefing complete, pilot to go on sick leave: IAF sources

Abhinandan would now go on sick leave for a few weeks on the advice of doctors of Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi.

Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s debriefing complete, pilot to go on sick leave: IAF sources
Image Courtesy: ANI

The debriefing of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been completed by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and other agencies. 

ANI reported quoting IAF sources that Abhinandan would now go on sick leave for a few weeks on the advice of doctors of Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi.

"The debriefing of Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman has been completed by the Indian Air Force and other agencies. Now the officer would be going on sick leave for a few weeks on the advice of doctors of Army’s Research and Referral Hospital," ANI reported.

IAF sources added that the medical fitness of Abhinandan will be assessed by a medical review board in the near future and then a decision will be taken on when can he resume his operations as a fighter pilot.

The MRI scan of Commander Abhinandan was conducted on March 3 and the doctors had not found any bugs inside his body. The scan had however revealed that Abhinandan has suffered an injury in his lower spine which could have happened due to his ejection from his MiG-21 was hit by Pakistani fighter jet during a fierce aerial dogfight on February 27.

Sources had told ANI that the scan also showed that one rib of Abhinandan was injured due to assault by Pakistani locals soon after he landed in PoK after his plane was shot down. 

On March 2, Zee News had reported that Pakistani forces had subjected Wing Commander Abhinandan to severe 'mental harassment' when he was in their captivity. Wing Commander Abhinandan had informed the Indian officials that "though he was not physically tortured by the Pakistanis, he went through a lot of mental harassment." Wing Commander Abhinandan spent around 59 hours in Pakistan before being handed over to Indian authorities on March 1.

Wing Commander Abhinandan was flying the MiG 21 Bison when he chased the Pakistani F-16 fighters which had violated the Indian airspace on February 27. While chasing down the Pakistani jets, Abhinandan crossed over to the Pakistani side and was shot down. 

The MiG-21 Bison is not a very large aircraft but it can fly at a very high speed. This plane is capable of sneaking up to enemy planes from low altitude. The MiG 21 is highly manoeuvrable in dogfights because it has got a delta wing. MiG 21 is a single seater plane with a length of 14.7 m (48 ft 2 in) and wingspan of 7.154 m (23 ft 6 in). The empty weight of MiG 21 is 5,846 kg (12,880 lb) and its loaded weight is 8,725 kg (19,230 lb) with 2 × K-13A missiles. The maximum takeoff weight of this fighter jet is 9,800 kg (21,600 lb). 

(with ANI inputs)