Chennai, Feb 27 : An Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan was reportedly 'missing in action', while foiling Pakistan's attempt to target military installations on Indian side on Wednesday.
Airport sources here said the Wing Commander Abhinandan Vardhaman was the son of Simmakutty Vardhaman, who is a resident of Madambakkam near suburban Tambaram. Simmakutty Vardhaman, a retired IAF official, was at present staying in the IAF residential quarters 'Jalvayu Vihar' in Madambakkam.
Earlier, MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters in New Delhi that the Pakistan Air Force was detected and the IAF responded instantly. ''In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the IAF. The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side'', he added.
In the engagement, "we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21,'' Mr Kumar said. He also said that one pilot is 'missing in action'. "...Pakistan has claimed that he (pilot) is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts,'' the MEA spokesman said. Pakistan had claimed that it shot down two Indian military aircraft over Pakistani air space and arrested at least one of the pilots.
Pak army Major General Asif Ghafoor said, "...One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area." Reports received here said the arrested Indian pilot was identified as Abhinandan, even as Delhi Chief Miniser Arvind Kejriwal prayed for the safety of the IAF pilot. Mr Kejriwal tweeted ''I pray for the safety of Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan. Whole country is proud of this
brave son and everyone is hoping for his safe return. We all stand united to keep our country safe and strong''. ''We pray for our brave heart IAF Wing Commander #Abhinandan 1.3 Billion Indians stands beside you in solidarity. Stay strong Soldier! #BringBackAbhinandan,'' the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said in a tweet. UNI