(This was written before it was confirmed that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman will be released tomorrrow.)
Amid concern and wishes from across the country for the Indian Air Force pilot held captive by Pakistan, K Nachiketa, the pilot who was in Pakistani captivity during the 1999 Kargil conflict, has put out a heart-tugging message for his comrade.
Group Captain Kambampati Nachiketa was a Prisoner of War in 1999, when India and Pakistan fought a limited war in the mountainous reaches of Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir. He was held captive by Pakistani forces in Rawalpindi and was released eight days later. He now works as a pilot for a private airline.
He wrote this message to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman exclusively for NDTV:
"Any defence person will keep on doing his or her duty as per orders from the commanders to the best of their ability. Wing Commander Abhinandan has been made a pow in a hostile situation in the line of his duty and as per the Geneva Conventions to which both India and Pakistan are signatories. He should be treated appropriately as an officer and sent back to India.
I am sure the government of India and Indian Air Force is in touch with counterparts across to ensure his speedy return back home.
My prayers and well wishes, like all other Indians, are always there for his family in this difficult moment as they wait in anticipation for that crucial news of his return in a healthy condition.
Abhinandan is a brave and courageous pilot with high professional ethos befitting a IAF air warrior and we all are proud of him.
He should be back soon and will take to the skies again to defend his motherland when ever called for.
It was indeed a disturbing news when he was captured but we all are trained and conditioned for this and I am sure he will be with us shortly and join back his unit soon.
It's definitely a positive sign that they have declared him. The anxious moments for his family should get soon after all the heart of a pilot is always in the cockpit."
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