IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman's parents get standing ovation on Chennai-Delhi flight

Saturday, 02 Mar, 2019

"As a peace gesture we are releasing the Indian pilot tomorrow", Mr Khan told Pakistani lawmakers in the National Assembly on Thursday.

Pakistan is preparing to hand over a captured Indian pilot as shelling continued for a third night across the disputed Kashmir border even as the two nuclear-armed neighbors seek to defuse the most serious confrontation in two decades.

The target was a camp run by the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group, which claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide auto bombing in Kashmir that killed 40 members of India's security forces.

The Indian defence establishment was also mulling over sending a special aircraft to Pakistan to bring back Wing Commander Varthaman who was captured by Pakistan during an aerial combat on Wednesday.

World leaders have scrambled to head off an all-out war on the Asian subcontinent.

"We've been involved in trying to have them stop", Trump told reporters in Hanoi.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said earlier this week that "India's enemies are conspiring to create instability in the country through terror attacks".

"This is "a result of a Pakistan-based terrorist group's brutal attack", he said".

After a delay of over 5 hours by Pakistan, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman finally returned to India on Friday.

Earlier in the day, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced that flight operations at Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta airports would resume at 6pm. He said that his son talked (in videos circulating on social media) like a "true soldier" despite being in Pakistan's captivity.

In the air, India could mobilize 814 combat aircraft, almost twice that of Pakistan, which had 425.

The Himalayan region has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence in 1947.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan said that this is the first gesture on their part to open negotiations between the two countries.

Simultaneously, the USA has urged both India and Pakistan to take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions. "India will fight as one". He said he was looking for his target, when his jet was shot down by Pakistan Air Force. He will be taken to New Delhi for a debriefing and a medical check-up. However, India has been maintaining that Pakistani decision is in consonance with the Geneva Conventions.

India and Pakistan have once again threatened to descend into war after a recent exchange of hostilities across their mutually-disputed border, leading the state of their rival armed forces to capture global attention.